If I Already Know I Have Alzheimer's Disease, Is It Still Useful To Get Genetic Testing?

Rudolph Tanzi answers the question: 'Genetic Testing If I Have Alzheimer's?'

May 4, 2009 -- Question: If I already know I have Alzheimer's disease, is it still useful to get genetic testing?

Answer: Today, any diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is a probable diagnosis. It would need to be confirmed upon autopsy. However, in the early-onset cases of Alzheimer's, there are mutations that can confirm the diagnosis and genetics can be useful to provide a more firm diagnosis. In the late-onset cases, genetics cannot yet be used to confirm the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

We believe that in the future, as we flesh out all of the genes involved in Alzheimer's, and we have therapies that can treat the disease, not just the symptoms like today's drugs, that it will be useful to know your genetics because that can dictate what treatment is best for you. But this is probably at least a decade off.