alzheimers and moms: what's the latest?
January 16, 2015 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I've just been reading a review of the latest film treatment of Alzheimers ("Still Alice"), which has the character inherit her early-onset version of the disease from her alcoholic father. But at least for a while, it seemed like the medical thinking linked Alzheimer's to mitochondrial DNA, so that it would be linked to the mother's genetic profile. I realize that it's a hideously complex disease, with or without alcoholism as a factor, but is the maternal-line theory valid?
posted by mmiddle to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This paper may have more information.
posted by Nevin at 8:06 AM on January 16, 2015

It definitely runs in my maternal line. My great grandmother, my grandmother and all her sisters got it (if they lived long enough). Mama is prepping for and speaking frankly about it now before it sets in. Hopefully being a genetic male I have a chance to avoid it, but my transbro is gonna have a hell of a time when he's 75 or so.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:19 AM on January 16, 2015

Best answer: Alzheimer's and early-onset Alzheimer's have different profiles.
posted by Riverine at 1:27 PM on January 16, 2015

Response by poster: These are all helpful - thank you!
posted by mmiddle at 5:28 PM on January 16, 2015

Best answer: Keep in mind too that while a person's mitochondria genome is typically inherited solely from the mother, a person's nuclear genome is inherited from both mom and dad and also affects how the mitochondria function. Some of the genes suspected to be involved in AD are nuclear, and the malfunctioning nuclear gene is thought to adversely impact the way the mitochondria function even though the mitochondria genome itself is perfectly fine. Rather like how when your car's engine isn't working, is it because the engine itself is bad or because other factors are causing it to not work properly? The mitochondria being the car's engine in this comparison.
posted by beaning at 5:34 PM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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