Dr Heston has raised several interesting points regarding the methods and conclusions in our recent report concerning the morbid risk among first-degree relatives of patients with Alzheimer's disease. First, he suggests that the risk figures for first-degree relatives over 80 years of age are really not much greater than one would observe in the general population. He states that most population estimates run between 20% and 30% but cites no data. We are aware of no prospective studies indicating such high risks. Some studies indicate prevalence of all types of dementia as high as 22% after 80 years of age,1 but none of them suggests annual risks for Alzheimer's disease as high as the approximately 4% observed in first-degree relatives of Alzheimer's disease probands 80 to 86 years of age.Second, Dr Heston suggests that the risk among control relatives should be substracted from the risk among relatives
Mohs RC, Breitner JCS, Silverman JM, Davis KL. Morbid Risk in First-Degree Relatives of Persons With Alzheimer's Disease-Reply. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(1):98. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800250114019
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