Two copies of gene found to be underlying cause in Alzheimer’s Disease – are you Destiny’s Child?

Two copies of gene found to be underlying cause in Alzheimer’s Disease – are you Destiny’s Child?

Researchers have found that people with 2 copies of the APOE4 gene is more than a risk factor – it is now considered an underlying cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. Prior to the research’s finding published in May, scientists knew the gene APOE4 increased risk. Although it is an underlying cause, it doesn’t mean if you have 2 copies of the gene that you are necessarily destined to have Alzheimer’s.

Approximately 15% of those with Alzheimer’s have 2 copies of the gene. Those most likely to inherit 2 APOE4 genes had parents who both got Alzheimer’s earlier than the typical case – i.e., in their 60s instead of in their 80s. As a result, symptoms could be found earlier than the typical Alzheimer’s patient.

Until the finding, doctors have been reluctant to offer Leqembi (which is only given to those who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s to delay the progression), to people with 2 copies of APOE4 since they are more prone to brain swelling and bleeding. As a result, it is anticipated research will now focus on treatment of the APOE4 gene, even before a patient has symptoms. Those with 2 copies of the gene are more likely to accumulate Amyloid at age 55 – much earlier than the typical person affected with Alzheimer’s.

Although science is making progress, it illustrates the need for at least basic estate planning earlier than later since you can’t sign documents when you have insufficient mental capacity. Some of the basic documents include:

  1. Will
    The document giving the executor the authority to collect your assets, pay your bills and distribute according to your wishes. If your beneficiary is disabled, then your will could have a trust within it for further protection.
  2. Power of Attorney
    The document that gives a trusted person the ability to handle financial affairs during your life, although you can handle as well assuming you have mental capacity. If you have inadequate assets or income or insurance to pay for care, additional provisions should be considered.
  3. Revocable Living Trust
    Typically used for those who desire to avoid probate of your will (the process where a court approves your will to be valid so that the executor or administrator can act), and guardianship of your estate should you become disabled (the trustee you choose acts on your behalf instead of the costly probate process or guardianship over your estate and delay of someone else being chosen by the court to handle you financial affairs during your life and after your death).
  4. Medical Power of Attorney
    The document where you choose the person that you want to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so.
  5. Directive to Physicians and Family (Living Will)
    The end-of-life document usually used to let you die as gently as possible.
  6. HIPPA
    The document that gives others you trust access to your medical records (from whomever is the healthcare provider) if you lack mental capacity or even after you have passed that otherwise would be unavailable due to privacy laws.
  7. Declaration of Guardian in the Event of Later Incompetence or Need
    The document that tells the court who you want to take care of you and your assets (or who you don’t want) should the need arise in the future.

There are several other documents that should also be discussed ranging from who you want to be in charge of your body after death to planning for long-term care should you have inadequate insurance income or assets if you desire governmental assistance in paying for care such as care at home or in a nursing home due to dementia.

If interested in learning more about this article or other estate planning, Medicaid and public benefits planning, probate, etc., attend one of our free upcoming Estate Planning Essentials workshops by clicking here or calling 214-720-0102. We make it simple to attend and it is without obligation.

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