“Personal Training”: Can Genes Guide Us?

“Personal Training”: Can Genes Guide Us?

Anthoula Tsolaki (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece & General Hospital “Agios Pavlos”, Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8234-4.ch002
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Dementia is one of the most devastating disease of the elderly. Alzheimer's disease (AD) remain its most common cause. This chapter presents current data about AD risk factors, biomarkers, risk genes, available treatments. It also focuses on current and future perspectives about the use of personalized, non pharmaceutical computer- based intervation. The aim of this work is to propose that the knowledge of carring or not AD risk can be a guide for a personalized combination of brain training in preclinical stages of the disease in order to postpone or even cancel disease onset.
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Dementia: Alzheimer's Disease

Dementia is a devastating disease of the elderly that is rather common nowadays due to the prolongation of the life span. It is characterized by cognitive decline, functional disability and behavioral disorders causing to the loss of one's independency. The prevalence of the disease, in western world, for the ages >60 years old it is >5% and doubles every 5 year >65 years old, ending >25% for the ages over the 90 years old (Qiu, Kivipelto, & von Strauss, 2009).


The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease (AD) (Fratiglioni et al., 2000; Plassman et al., 2007). Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common morbidities in elderly and its prevalence is expected to quadrupled in 2047 (Brookmeyer, Gray, & Kawas, 1998). The cause of this neurodegenerative syndrome is still unclear. It is certain, however, that both genetic and environmental factors take part in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis (Jiang, Yu, Tian, & Tan, 2013).

The diagnosis is based upon clinical criteria such as NINCDS-ADRDAs (G. M. McKhann et al., 2011; G. McKhann et al., 1984) and DSM V (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Both of the above criteria do not include currently biologic markers (Mattsson et al., 2009; Mulder et al., 2010) or predisposing genes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Genes: They are the molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. They hold the information to build and maintain an organism's cells and pass genetic traits to offspring.

Non Pharmaceutical Intervention: Include “therapies” without drugs, aiming to maintain or improve cognitive or/and physical skills.

Alzheimer’s Disease: It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.

Cognitive Training: Exercises designed for the brain in order to maintain or even improve cognitive abilities.

Mild Cognitive Impairment: Is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia.

Risk Genes: Genetic factors that increase the risk of presenting a pathological condition.

Physical Training: Any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.

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