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Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Mar;152(3):424-30.

Age at onset and familial risk in Alzheimer's disease.

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Psychiatry Service, Bronx VA Medical Center, NY 10468.



The authors investigated the relationship between probands' age at onset of Alzheimer's disease with the risk of primary progressive dementia in the probands' first-degree relatives.


Two hundred probands with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer's disease and 179 nondemented elderly probands were recruited from the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, located at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Demographic and diagnostic data were collected on 1,398 of the first-degree relatives of the probands with Alzheimer's disease and 955 first-degree relatives of the nondemented probands.


Cox proportional hazards regression analysis showed a significant inverse relationship between age at onset of Alzheimer's disease in probands and greater familial risk in their relatives. Follow-up analyses indicated that the most commonly used age at onset cutoff point--65 years--was one of the points where an association with familial aggregation is least likely to be revealed; other onset cutoff ages (e.g., 55, 70, and 75) better identified Alzheimer's disease groups with differing familial/genetic risks.


The authors conclude that patients with an earlier age at onset of Alzheimer's disease are more likely to have relatives with Alzheimer's disease than are patients with a later age at onset of the disease. An onset age of 70 best differentiated probands whose relatives were at higher risk from those whose relatives were at lower risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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