DNA Alzheimer's Disease Test

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Results in 2 to 4 weeks
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Fee Schedule for Year 2019 Order

Test Type Testing Time Fee
DNA Alzheimer's Disease Test 2 to 4 weeks RM2330Order Kit

All orders received before 2pm are shipped out the same business day. All orders received after 2pm or on weekends or holidays are shipped out the following business day. 24/7 online status check and account management available for all tests.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and other important mental functions. It is the most common form of dementia, and accounted for 50 - 70% of approximately 44 million dementia cases worldwide in 2015.

Most people affected by Alzheimer's disease do not show any symptoms until after 65 years of age. This is known as late-onset Alzheimer's disease and occurs in more than 90% of cases. The rare early-onset Alzheimer's cases often cluster within families and symptoms appear before 65 years of age. 

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease, and the initial changes in the brain occur long before any visible symptoms are observed. Two abnormal protein accumulations (amyloid plaques and tau tangles) form in the brains of affected patients.

The plaques prevent the normal connections and communication between the neurons in the brain, while tau tangles disrupt the normal movement of nutrients and other essential supplies within each neuron. These abnormalities lead to cell death and brain shrinkage, and eventually patients begin to show outward signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Early stages are characterized by memory loss, misplacing items, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulties performing familiar tasks, poor judgment, personality changes and confusion with time or place. As the disease progresses, patients begin to have trouble recognizing family and friends and are unable to learn new things, or become distressed in new environments.

Other symptoms at the mid-stage of Alzheimer’s can include hallucinations, agitation, delusions and paranoia. In the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients are unable to communicate and must rely of others for everyday care. They become bedridden and the body shuts down, usually resulting in death from general inanition, malnutrition or pneumonia. 

Risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease

The causes of Alzheimer's disease are not fully understood, and many genetic and environmental conditions are likely to contribute. One strong genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's is the e4 form of the APOE gene.

The APOE gene encodes Apolipoprotein E, a protein involved in injury repair and transporting fats between brain cells. People with one copy of the e4 allele have a 3-fold increased risk of developing Alzheimer's, while e4 homozygotes (two copies of e4) have up to a 15-fold increased risk.

Other risk factors for Alzheimer's include other health issues (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol), lifestyle choices (smoking and excess alcohol), cognitive and physical inactivity, and head trauma.  

How is Alzheimer’s disease inherited?

The APOE gene is located on chromosome 19. There are three forms or alleles of APOE – e2, e3 and e4. One allele is inherited from each parent, resulting in six possible combinations: e2/e2, e3/e3, e4/e4, e2/e3, e2/e4 or e3/e4.

The presence of the e4 allele is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, whereas the e2 allele has a protective affect.

DNA testing for APOE

A simple DNA test can determine which alleles of APOE an individual carries. The three alleles are e2, e3 and e4. Each person can inherit two identical alleles or two different alleles of APOE.

  • e4/e4 – Two copies of the e4 allele is associated with a 10- to 15-fold increased risk.
     
  • e3/e4 or e2/e4 – A single copy of e4 increases the risk by 3-fold.
     
  • e3/e3 – The presence of two copies of the common e3 neutral allele does not affect the risk.
     
  • e2/e2 or e2/e3 – Inheriting one or two copies of e2 is protective and reduces the risk.
Private Alzheimer's Disease Test
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