Who wouldn't want to know whether their body has the gene for Alzheimer's Disease? 23andme.com claims to be able to detect the gene that is associated with the late onset variety. And the price tag of $200 seems reasonable. But there's a catch.
Charles Seife addressed it a few years ago in 23andMe Is Terrifying, but Not for the Reasons the FDA Thinks. "The genetic-testing company's real goal is to hoard your personal data."
Add to that the plague of hacking. The data will be on the internet for ease of customer access. And it will be secure only as long as their security stays ahead of the hackers. Unfortunately, it seem as though anything on the net is vulnerable -- hardly a week goes by in which we don't hear of some company or government entity getting hacked.
In any event, Here's some useful information pulled from alzinfo.org What you Should Know About Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease – New Guidelines. Excerpt:
The science remains imperfect and more research needs to be done, but experts are learning more about the role of genes in Alzheimer’s disease. Over all, the lifetime risk of getting Alzheimer’s is estimated at between 10 and 12 percent. So the average person in the general population living to 75 or 80 has about a one in 10 chance of getting Alzheimer’s. Having a mother, father, brother, sister or other close relative with the disease increases that risk two-fold.
[Early-onset familial Alzheimer’s] has been linked to specific genes, and inheriting a mutated gene from either parent – a parent has a 50 percent chance of passing it on to a child — almost always causes the disease to arise.
But the far more common late-onset Alzheimer’s, which occurs after age 60 to 65 and grows increasingly common in people in their 70s and 80s and older, is only partly influenced by genetics. It clusters in families only 15 to 25 percent of the time, and is generally referred to as sporadic Alzheimer’s. In these cases, having a mother or father, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, grandparent or other close relative with Alzheimer’s increases your risk for the disease. But a family history by no means guarantees that you will get it. ...
It’s possible to inherit one or two copies of APOE-E4, from one or both parents. Those who carry only one copy have a two- to three-fold increased risk compared to the general population, though the risk is uncertain and experts can’t assign a definitive number to it. In people who carry two copies of APOE-E4, the overall risk is increased two- to 10-fold. Some studies suggest that having the APOE-E4 gene may cause symptoms like memory loss to appear at an earlier age than if you didn’t carry the gene. And some forms of APOE, like APOE-E2, may actually help protect against Alzheimer’s. In addition to APOE-E4, other genes that increase risk have been identified, and more may be found, though APOE-E4 seems to be most important.
Insert your own memory loss joke here.