Genetic Factors: Late Onset Alzheimer's

A study released last week suggests that genes play a big role in the development of late-onset Alzheimer's. But the study, by Margaret Gatz of the University of Southern California and colleagues, raised questions for people who have a family history of the disease. USA TODAY's Kathleen Fackelmann talks to Gatz.
Q: What were the major findings of the study?

A: The study of nearly 12,000 twins in Sweden found that genetic factors accounted for 58% to 79% of the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's. The rest of the risk (21% to 42%) for Alzheimer's could be chalked up to other factors such as unhealthful lifestyles or another disease such as atherosclerosis. Clogged arteries put people at risk not just for heart attacks but for Alzheimer's as well, Gatz says. The study was published in the February Archives of General Psychiatry....

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