Latest News » New study reveals Alzheimer’s may develop decades before symptoms appear

Alzheimer's may begin to take root in your 20s even if the symptoms don't present themselves until decades later.

According to a new study from researchers at Indiana University, Alzheimer's Disease could appear in a person's brain decades before the symptoms begin to manifest. While most people who have Alzheimer's do not begin to be affected by the disease until their mid to late 60s, it can actually begin as early as 20 years old.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's. Experts believe this new research indicating that it can actually begin much earlier in life will cast an entirely new light on the disease.

The symptoms of Alzheimer's become significant when a person begins to experience substantial memory loss and cognitive impairment. When the loss in memory progresses over months and years of a person's life, most caretakers suspect that Alzheimer's is the reason why, even if the disease has never been officially diagnosed.

Analyzing over 600 participants in their study, researchers Shannon Risacher and Andrew Saykin compared the genes of those with Alzheimer's Disease to those who were perfectly healthy. What they discovered is that the APOE e4 gene variant plays an important role in the disease's development and may be responsible for the memory loss.

"We cannot hope to fight Alzheimer's until we understand the basic biology that underlies the onset and progression of disease," says Tom Skalak, executive director for Science and Technology for the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

The researchers said that further studies will need to be conducted in order to find a concrete link between age and the onset of Alzheimer's, and how it can have a direct impact on progressive memory lapses.

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