One in eight people over age 65 suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Most patients develop late-onset Alzheimer's. Scientists have found a predisposing genetic risk factor for this type of the disease, and while they have yet to discover a direct genetic link, researchers have isolated the early-onset Alzheimer’s gene. Early-onset Alzheimer's is rare, affecting only five percent of Alzheimer’s patients. But it can strike as early as 30, with devastating consequences for the patient and their families. Many families are unprepared for the difficult decisions caregivers face when their loved ones are diagnosed with early- or late-onset Alzheimer's.
Sean Corcoran is the lead reporter for WCAI radio on Cape Cod. He investigated the difficulties Alzheimer's patients and their families face in a series for our partner, WGBH. Sean interviewed Julie Noonan-Lawson for his series. The early-onset Alzheimer's gene runs in her family. She joins us from Cape Cod to talk about how her family has handled the disease.