This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Late-onset familial Alzheimer disease, is a form of familial Alzheimer disease, that begins after age 65. In general, Alzheimer disease (AD) is a degenerative disease of the brain that causes gradual loss of memory, judgement and the ability to function socially. The exact underlying cause of late-onset familial AD is not completely understood; however, researchers suspect that it is a complex condition, which is likely associated with multiple susceptibility genes in combination with environmental and lifestyle factors. A gene called APOE has been studied extensively as a risk factor for the disease. In particular, a variant of this gene called the “e4 allele” seems to increase an individual’s risk for developing late-onset Alzheimer disease (people who have this allele are said to have the late-onset familial AD type 2). It is important to understand that APOE is a susceptibility gene, not a determinative gene, which means that people having two copies of this allele have an increased risk of having AD but not necessarily will have it. There is no cure for AD. Treatment is supportive and based on the signs and symptoms present in each person.
For more information, visit GARD.