NEW YORK, NY (CBS) – Bad news for those who have two parents suffering from Alzheimer’s: You may already have signs of the brain-destroying disease.
CBS News is reporting that researchers from New York University’s Langone Medical Center took brain scans of numerous people and found that those who had both biological parents diagnosed with the disease were more likely to have physical evidence of disease risk such as protein plaque buildup on their brain.
“Studies show that by the time people come in for a diagnosis, there may be a large amount of irreversible brain damage already present. This is why it is ideal that we find signs of the disease in high-risk people before symptoms occur,” study author Dr. Lisa Mosconi, a psychiatry professor at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said in a statement.
The researchers say they performed the brain scans on 52 dementia-free patients between 32 and 72 years old. The participants were assigned to four groups of 13 based on whether or not their mother had Alzheimer’s, their father had Alzheimer’s, both parents were diagnosed or they had no family history of the disease.
Those people with both parents affected by Alzheimer’s had more severe abnormalities on their brain, with between five and 10 percent more brain plaque in certain regions.
While the researchers say their study was small and more research is needed, the findings could indicate genes are involved in the risk of the disease.
According to health officials, 4.5 million people in the United States are suffering from Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to triple by 2050.