World Alzheimer's Day
Every year on September 21st, the world comes together for World Alzheimer's Day, an occasion to raise awareness and promote understanding of this neurodegenerative disease that affects millions of people worldwide. On this special day, we want to discuss how Whole Genome Sequencing can contribute to our understanding of Alzheimer's and the search for more effective therapies.
Alzheimer's: A Global Challenge
Alzheimer's is a complex and debilitating disease that affects the brain, causing progressive cognitive decline. Research into Alzheimer's is crucial, but our understanding of this disease is still evolving. Experts believe it is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and Whole Genome Sequencing can play a crucial role in our quest for answers.
It is currently estimated that more than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia. In 2015, dementia affected 47 million people worldwide, a figure that is expected to increase to 75 million by 2030 and 132 million by 2050, with about 10 million new cases per year (1 every 3 seconds). According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias represent the 7th leading cause of death worldwide.
Female sex is an important risk factor for the occurrence of Alzheimer's dementia, the most frequent form of all dementias (about 60%). The prevalence of dementia in industrialized countries is about 8% in those over age 65 and rises to more than 20% after age 80.
The correlation between Alzheimer's and genetics
In a minority of cases, Alzheimer's occurs at a younger age (before age 60-65). 60% of these early-onset forms are termed familial, meaning that the disease occurs in 2 or more people in the same household; 13% of them are caused by the presence of a genetic mutation present from birth.
Forms of Alzheimer's disease caused by a genetic mutation are transmitted in a manner defined as autosomal dominant whereby 50% of the children (1 in 2, regardless of sex) of the person carrying the mutation has a chance of inheriting it.
One of the major genetic factors that can influence the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life has been identified in a gene called APOE. A variant of the APOE gene (which is called APOE-4) confers an increased risk of developing the disease.
Each person inherits 1 APOE gene from his or her mother and 1 APOE gene from his or her father. Those who inherit only 1 copy of APOE-4 (either from their father or mother) have a 2 to 3 times higher risk of developing the disease than those who do not inherit any copies of APOE-4.
Those who inherit 2 copies of APOE-4 (1 from the father and 1 from the mother) have an 8- to 18-fold higher risk of developing the disease than those who do not inherit it.
However, it is by no means certain that those who inherit the APOE-4 gene will develop Alzheimer's disease in the future. In fact, not all people who carry APOE-4 manifested the disease, and not all people who developed Alzheimer's disease were APOE-4 carriers.
The Role of Whole Genome Sequencing in Alzheimer's
Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis is a comprehensive genetic analysis that involves determining the complete sequence of an individual's entire genome.
The genome is essentially the entire set of an organism's genetic material, including all the genes, non-coding regions, and other elements that make up an individual's DNA.
Whole genome sequencing can analyze all Alzheimer's-related variants, allowing a better understanding of susceptibility to this disease.
Another crucial aspect of Whole Genome Sequencing is the potential for personalized care. With a deeper understanding of your genetic heritage, doctors may be able to develop more targeted therapies to treat or even prevent Alzheimer's. This represents a significant step forward in the fight against this disease.
Parkinson - Alzheimer - Dementia Panel
The genetic variants analyzed in Dante Labs’ Parkinson - Alzheimer - Dementia Panel are closely related to or, potentially, the cause of major factors associated with Parkinson, Alzheimer and Dementia.
Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia are neurodegenerative disorders that are caused by mutations in genes involved in the development and function of the nervous system. This panel tests for genetic variants that are known to affect these processes, for example the APOE gene analysis mentioned above.
This panel is designed for individuals with a family history of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, or dementia or individuals with symptoms of these conditions, such as tremors, memory loss, and cognitive impairment. Genetic testing can confirm a diagnosis, provide information on disease severity and progression, and inform treatment and management decisions. Testing can also inform family planning decisions and provide reassurance for unaffected family members.
Discover the Parkinson - Alzheimer - Dementia Panel
On World Alzheimer's Day, let us reflect on how Dante Labs' Whole Genome Sequencing can contribute to our understanding of Alzheimer's and contribute to its prevention or help in its treatment. Dante Labs’ Parkinson - Alzheimer - Dementia Panel offers the opportunity to identify genetic variants associated with these diseases, promoting research and personalized care. Together, we can illuminate the path toward better understanding and a more effective fight against Alzheimer's.