Is Alzheimer’s disease hereditary?

Q: Is Alzheimer's disease hereditary?

A: In some cases, it can be - but it is rare. Scientists who study the genetics of Alzheimer’s distinguish between “familial Alzheimer’s disease,” which runs in families, and “sporadic Alzheimer’s disease”, where no obvious inheritance pattern is seen. Most Alzheimer's patients experience the sporadic form known as late onset Alzheimer's. This form of the disease is not a hereditary disease, from what researchers know.

Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) or early-onset Alzheimer’s is an inherited, rare form of the disease, affecting less than 10 percent of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

The majority of Alzheimer’s disease cases are late-onset, usually developing after age 65. It is important to reiterate: Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease has no known cause and from what researchers know, this form of thid disease shows no obvious inheritance pattern.

Dr. Maurizio Grimaldi heads the Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience Laboratory at Southern Research Institute. Read his full biography

Dr. Maurizio Grimaldi

Follow this author

Grimaldi is the Leader of the Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience Laboratory at Southern Research Institute in Alabama and specialized in clinical pharmacology. He is a co-investigator in the NIH-NINDS Drug Screening for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke.

View full profile

You May Also Like See all guides >

Veterans' Benefits

Find federal benefits available to your family.

Home Care

How to find, hire and manage home care.

Caregivers' Survival

Everything you need to care for an elderly family member.

Get the latest care advice and articles delivered to your inbox!