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Early onset Alzheimer's is a form of the disease; passed down through generations.
Marty Reiswig is a husband, a father of two, and a realtor. he believes in making the very best of every day, for good reason …
Reiswig says, "At 38, i know i may only have another 12 years of good mental capacity."
Reiswig came face-to-face with his family's genetic fate more than a decade ago. At one reunion, there were very few relatives over the age of sixty. He and Jaclyn had just started dating.
Jaclyn says, "He saw an uncle who was clearly having problems. That's when it became clear to him. He took me for a walk and said if you want out now, I understand."
Reiswig says, "Without skipping a beat she said, 'I'd rather have 30 good years with you, than a lifetime with anybody else'."
Eric McDade is a neurologist at Washington University in Saint Louis, studying the familial early onset of Alzheimer's. It is known as the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network trials unit; or Dian-tu. Researchers are focused on defects in three genes.
McDade says, "These genetic changes are actually passed in a way that each generation from somebody who has the gene, has a 50-50 chance of getting the gene defect."
People who inherit the defective gene almost always develop Alzheimer's at a young age. Marty's father developed symptoms at age 52. As part of the study, Marty had genetic testing. For now, he and Jaclyn have opted not to know the results.
Reiswig says, "The burden of finding out that i do have the gene would be far worse and heavy and difficult than not knowing."
The current trials are using drugs that attack different forms of the amyloid protein, associated with Alzheimer's."
Researchers will be enrolling participants in a third arm of the trial.