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Do Genetics Offer Protection Against Dementia in Seniors?

Dementia is a common concern for caregivers in Lancaster and beyond, and with good reason. The World Health Organization estimates an astonishing 35.6 million people in the world have dementia, and in the United States, dementia cases are expected to escalate because of an aging baby-boomer population. While it’s important for family caregivers to keep their eyes open for signs and risk factors, it is also important to know that it’s possible to be genetically protected from getting the disease.

Genetics and Dementia

Family history and genetics are often said to be the greatest indicators of dementia. While the negative impacts of genes on dementia has been studied for the last several years, new research is showing that some people might possess certain genes that actually protect them against this degenerative disease. Formally called KL-VS, this gene is linked to a larger right brain region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. KL-VS is also linked to better heart health, and even a longer life span in the elderly.

Genes Linked to Dementia

On the flipside, certain genes indicate the possibility of developing dementia. These include APOE-e4, APOE-e3, and APOE-e2. An absence of these genes could mean that your loved one is less likely to develop the disease.

Protein Build-up Detection

Neurologists can also help predict the potential onset of dementia by looking for the build-up of certain proteins in the body. Often deemed “toxic,” such proteins include beta amyloid in the blood, as well as Tau within the brain. These proteins help the central nervous system function, thereby promoting normal neuron formation. An absence of these proteins in your loved one likely indicates a low risk of dementia. Be sure to discuss all of the individual risk factors with your loved one’s doctor for thorough analysis.

Make an appointment with your senior loved one’s physician and inquire about testing if you’re concerned with the possibility of your loved one developing dementia. You can also reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Lancaster dementia care, about ongoing care options. Although we provide specialized care for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s, we also offer hourly care for seniors who just need a little extra help around the house, running errands, or remembering to take medications. Call us at (717) 540-4663 to speak with a friendly Care Manager about the services available in your area.