PHOENIX - If you had the chance to find out if you have a higher risk of getting Alzheimer's, would you? What if taking the test could help end the disease someday?
The test – a simple cheek swab – takes minutes and could answer one important question: whether you carry a gene that could make you more susceptible to getting Alzheimer's.
Elizabeth Montemayor is doing the swab for her loved ones.
“My partner lost his father to Alzheimer's last year. And so I saw over the last several years as that disease progressed, the toll it took on him and his mother," Montemayor said.
Montemayor took a GeneMatch test Friday that could tell her if she carries the APOE gene.
That is the gene researchers believe may lead to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“I’m an accountant by training, so I’m a realist," Montemayor said. "So if I have it, I’d rather know so I can help actively participate in stopping the progression of it.”
By taking the test, Montemeyer will also learn if she qualifies for the Generation Study or future studies. The Generation Study from Banner Alzheimer's Institute is working to examine the APOE gene further.
Principal scientist Jessica Langbaum, PhD, said because Genematch results are so sensitive, Montemayor and everyone else who took part Friday will only find out if they’re APOE carriers if they qualify for the study.
“The genetic counselor will tell you your results if you choose to learn them," Langbaum said. "Based on those results, you may have other study opportunities available to you.”
Only those 55 and older are eligible to take part in the study. And not every selected participant has the APOE gene. For Montemayor, finding out whether she does will give her peace for her family.
To sign up for the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, a database to learn more about clinical trials and research opportunities near you, visit www.endalznow.org.
RELATED: Learn more about GeneMatch online. You can register to have a cheek swab kit mailed to your home or find a trial site near you.