Skip to content

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Brain Changes Seen in Relatives of Alzheimer's Patients

Study finding doesn't mean you'll get the disease if family members have it, experts stress
Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

The findings may help advance research that seeks to prevent Alzheimer's disease by using drugs, he said, and it's not a reason to panic and start to think the worst if you have a family history of the disease. "The findings don't suggest you should worry any more or any less," he said.

Although the study found an association between having a family history of Alzheimer's and showing brain changes related to the disease, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

"Having a family history does not mean you will get Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer's division at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. You may be at a higher risk for developing it, but it is not predestined, said Isaacson, who was not involved with the new study.

"Make brain-healthy choices now to help lower this risk," he suggested. "We know that if it is good for the heart it is good for the brain." Such choices include engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy low-fat diet.

"It's also important to keep your brain fit by doing something you enjoy -- whether crossword puzzles or learning a foreign language -- every day," Isaacson said.

"If you have a family history, get educated and informed about positive lifestyle choices and consider taking part in an Alzheimer's prevention trial," he said. "We can finally say 'Alzheimer's disease' and 'prevention' in the same sentence, and that is a great thing."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
 
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
 
senior man
ARTICLE
daughter and father
ARTICLE
 
Making Diagnosis
Article
Colored mri of brain
ARTICLE
 
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
VIDEO
senior woman with lost expression
ARTICLE
 
Woman comforting ailing mother
ARTICLE
Alzheimers Dementia
ARTICLE