Researchers find way to predict disease in people with a rare form

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Remembering family members who can’t remember themselves, Alexandra looks through pictures of several relatives struck with an aggressive form of Alzheimer’s disease.

The 35-year-old woman, who will be identified as Alexandra to protect her identity, lost her mother to familial Alzheimer’s. Her mother was diagnosed with the disease at age 42 and died in her early 50s.

“It’s sad, and the sadder part about it is she didn’t have a life that she should have deserved,” Alexandra said.

Like other relatives, Alexandra’s mother died from familial Alzheimer’s in her early 50s. Doctors say having the specific gene mutations predict with 100 percent certainty the carrier will develop the disease. While familial Alzheimer’s disease, or FAD, accounts for less than 2 percent of total cases, the disease process is similar to common forms.

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