Do you have relatives diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia? My dad lived with the many challenges of dementia for several years. As a result, I want to do whatever I can to help researchers figure out how to prevent these conditions.
Yesterday I signed up for a program that just might provide much-needed answers. It’s called GeneMatch, and it’s sponsored by the National Institute On Aging (a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). More than 290,000 people have registered so far, and the goal is 500,000.
There are 3 basic requirements for participation:
- Between the ages of 55-75
- A resident of the United States
- You cannot have a diagnosis of dementia or any other cognitive impairment.
To begin the registration process, simply go to this site. Watch the brief video located halfway down the page, then enter your basic demographic information. (Even if you choose not to sign up, I encourage you to watch the video. It offers a great overview of the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease.)
After signing up, you’ll receive a swab kit in the mail within a couple of weeks. Next, you simply follow the directions on how to collect your own cheek swab. Then return the sample through the mail. Of course, there is absolutely no cost to you to participate.
Your sample is analyzed for what’s called APOE genotyping. This basically means identifying the type of DNA you carry that could be related to Alzheimer’s disease. All results are confidential and only shared with researchers. In fact, you probably won’t even be notified of your own results.
Finally, you’ll be updated on any Alzheimer’s disease prevention studies for which you qualify. You’re never under any obligation to participate in these individual studies.
Do you have questions? If so, please call 1-888-786-7259 or email GeneMatch@endALZnow.org
(Update: My GeneMatch kit arrived in today’s mail. That was fast! The instructions were very easy to follow, and I obtained my cheek swab sample this evening. It will go back in tomorrow’s mail. If I’m selected for a research study I’ll post another update.)
Are you too young to qualify for GeneMatch? Then I hope you’ll share this opportunity with others!