News / Health

Alzheimer's More Likely Inherited Through Mother

Researchers use MRI scans to look for shrinking brain tissue

Understanding how Alzheimer's is inherited may help researchers develop ways to prevent or treat the disease.
Understanding how Alzheimer's is inherited may help researchers develop ways to prevent or treat the disease.
Art Chimes

A new study suggests that Alzheimer's Disease is more likely to be inherited through the mother than through the father.

But the study has limitations. There is no definitive test for Alzheimer's Disease, except examining the brain in an autopsy. So physicians and researchers have to use stand-ins, or proxies, to determine whether someone has the disease. A physician may give an elderly patient a memory test, or ask family members about behavioral changes.

Researchers in this study used MRI scans to look for shrinking brain tissue.

Robyn Honea of the University of Kansas Medical Center says a certain amount of shrinkage is a normal part of aging, but some of the people in their study lost more brain tissue than others.

"What we found is that really there wasn't that much difference between people that had a father with Alzheimer's disease and those that had no family history," Honea explains. "However, the group that had a mother with Alzheimer's disease had more shrinkage, primarily in two different areas of the brain."

The parts of the brain where they observed this shrinkage are associated with memory, and are areas that typically atrophy in Alzheimer's patients.

But a change in brain volume doesn't necessarily signal the onset of Alzheimer's. Honea says they gave tests to measure loss of memory and other brain functions over the two years of the study.

"We did measure cognitive change, but they didn't have significantly more cognitive change than any of the other groups," she said.

This is a relatively limited study, with just 53 people. And Honea is careful to point out that family history is an established risk factor for Alzheimer's, so the fact that people whose mother had Alzheimer's show more brain atrophy doesn't mean that the disease is only inherited through the mother.

"We know that people that have a mother or a father [with Alzheimer's disease] are at risk. We're really seeing that risk play out in the mother group in this sample. That doesn't necessarily mean that the group that had a father [with the disease] aren't at risk, too. They're just not exhibiting the same brain changes."

Honea says understanding how Alzheimer's is inherited may help researchers develop ways to prevent or treat the disease.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid