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Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Is a family history (mother & aunts) of dementia / alzheimers

Customer Question

Is a family history (mother & aunts) of dementia / alzheimers significantly raise the risk of dementia for the children?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Yes, family history does play a role in the development of Alzheimer's. The highest risk comes when immediately family members have the disease. And the more family members that are affected by the disease, the higher to risk. Researchers are not sure if the cause is genes, environment or some of both.


Some people with a family history never develop the disease and other ones do. There is a test that is now available for those with a family history to tell if they have the gene to develop the disease. If it is discovered that the person does carry the gene, then medications used to slow the progress of the disease can be started.


At present, there is no cure. But researchers did have a break through just recently that may impact Alzheimer's and dementia. They discovered an underlying disease process that affects patient's with Lou Gehrig's disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Here is a link to explain it:,0,3524095.story


I hope this has helped,


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If someone has dementia or AD, what are the early warning signs and is there anything one can do to slow the process?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

If it is discovered that a person has dementia, then there are medications that can be used to slow the progress of the disease. But at the present time, there is no cure.

Some of the signs include-


disorientation in familiar surroundings




difficulty performing a familiar task


personality changes


trouble remembering simple activities such as how to find lost items


There are many other signs. Your doctor can perform tests to determine if there may be a reason to believe you have dementia.


Here is a link to help:




TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is dementia a straight line in terms of deterioration or does it progress in waves.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Patients with dementia slowly lose their abilities. As far as I am aware, they do not stabilize at any point but continue to lose skills and memory over time at a progressive rate. This is a good question for the person's doctor and/or neurologist because a person's experience with dementia, depending on exact diagnosis (dementia is a global term for different neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's) and a person's physical condition at the time of diagnosis, would be affected by many different factors. So each person is different.



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