Kensington Place Redwood City is proud to announce our collaboration with The Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Care at UCLA.
Join us in unlocking the secrets of genetics and brain health in our upcoming webinar titled, “Know Your Genes: How Family History Affects Brain Health.”
In the spirit of commitment to care, we’re thrilled to collaborate with Dr. Kacie Deters and Dr. Jessica Rexach, esteemed experts in the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia, to lead our upcoming informative session.
Their discussion will explore the role of generics in neurodegenerative diseases, along with the latest advancements in research.
The intersection of genetics and brain health and its effect on Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease
Our brain’s health is determined by a multitude of factors, genetics being one of them.
While many people have heard there’s a strong connection between genetics and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the reality is often more complex.
Genetics does indeed play a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease, with certain gene mutations increasing the risk.
However, it’s important to understand these genetic factors account for a small percentage of cases.
For example, hereditary Alzheimer’s genes, known as “deterministic genes” that result directly from a gene mutation account for less than 1% of all Alzheimer’s cases.
The majority of our brain health outcomes are significantly impacted by a combination of environmental factors, lifestyle, and aging. Poor lifestyle choices, such as a lack of physical activity, smoking, and substance misuse, often have a more direct and substantial impact on brain health.
Understanding the intersection of genetics and brain health is about recognizing the role our genes play without assigning them more blame, or misunderstanding them, so we can focus on making changes that make significant impacts — lifestyle changes.
In order to grasp the role of genetics in brain diseases, it’s helpful to familiarize ourselves with key terms and concepts, such as genes, which contain instructions for building and maintaining our bodies.
Some of these genetic variations can contribute to disease susceptibility. Exploring risk genes and disease-causing genes will provide a deeper understanding of how specific genes can influence the onset and progression of brain disease.
The following list is the most common genes associated with brain disorders.
Alzheimer’s genetics mainly focus on the genes APOE ε4, PSEN1, PSEN2, and APP, whose mutations have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
There are several gene mutations that have been well documented in relation to Parkinson’s disease, such as the LRRK2 and SNCA genes. Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are considered to be the most common genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease.
Frontotemporal dementia is a specific type of dementia that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, whereas Alzheimer’s generally affects all of the brain.
Frontotemporal dementia genetics explores mutations in the MAPT, GRN, and C9orf72 genes.
A family history of neurodegenerative diseases can affect your loved one’s risk of similar conditions.
Genetic predispositions for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s disease can be passed down through generations, increasing the likelihood of developing these conditions.
However, a family history does not guarantee the onset of these diseases, and there are many other factors at play, including lifestyle choices and environmental influences.
Family members with neurodegenerative disorders, or who are prone to these disorders, can work on following these proactive tips to manage or even prevent their conditions from worsening:
- Understand your risk by consulting a genetic counselor
- Receive routine health check-ups to detect early signs of neurodegenerative disorders
- Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and get quality sleep
- Engage in mental stimulation, such as puzzles and games
- Encourage social interaction to combat isolation, depression, and anxiety
- Prevent conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease from increasing the risk of brain diseases
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
- Stay informed on the latest research and advancements and read brain health blogs
- Participate in support groups and utilize our Kensington Konnect, an online hub for caregivers
Recent developments in Alzheimer’s disease involve early detection methods such as advanced neuroimaging and blood tests that can identify disease-specific biomarkers, such as amyloid-beta proteins, and tau proteins, which are responsible for causing Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
In the field of Parkinson’s disease, researchers have made considerable gains in understanding the role of alpha-synuclein proteins in neuron damage, leading to potential new treatment strategies.
Some of the emerging treatment approaches for these diseases also include the following.
Geneticists use gene therapy to modify or deliver therapeutic genes that can enhance the clearance of alpha-synuclein and other proteins that cause brain disorders.
This approach involves stimulating the immune system to target and clear alpha-synuclein aggregates that cause Parkinson’s disease and other brain diseases.
Researchers continue to explore small molecules that can inhibit the aggregation and collection of proteins in the brain that can limit the brain’s communication.
Kensington Place Redwood City is a memory care community that stays updated with the latest medical breakthroughs to ensure that our residents are receiving the best care.
By continuing to integrate new insights from leading medical experts, our team strives to provide top-notch memory care services to all of our residents.
We invite you to join our upcoming educational webinar “Know Your Genes: How Family History Affects Brain Health” to learn more about genetics and neurodegenerative diseases.
Please reach out to learn more about our memory care services and how we live Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.