Inherited Neurological and Central Nervous System Disorders

Inherited Neurological and Central Nervous System Disorders


  • Individuals with abnormal genes face a heightened risk of neurological disorders, sometimes triggered by minor factors or, in some cases, without any identifiable triggers.
  • Abnormal genes may lead to hereditary disorders or early-onset conditions like Alzheimer's disease without complete cures.
  • Maintaining good health, exercising regularly, and avoiding risk factors such as excessive alcohol and smoking can help safeguard individuals with normal genes against neurological disorders.

Neurological disorders encompass a diverse spectrum of conditions, from rare anomalies to more prevalent ones. These can be categorized into the following groups:

Common Neurological Disorders with Genetic Links:

  • Alzheimer's disease is associated with abnormalities in genes like APP, PSEN1, PSEN2 for early-onset cases, and APOE e4, PICALM, ABCA7, CLU, CR1, PLD3, TREM2, and SORL1 genes.
  • Parkinson's disease is linked to abnormalities in genes LRRK2, PARK2, and PARK7.
  • Huntington's disease is associated with abnormalities in the HTT gene.
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia is linked to trinucleotide repeat expansion mutations.
  • Hearing or visual impairments may also be genetically influenced.

Who Is at Risk?

Individuals most susceptible to inherited neurological and nervous system disorders include:

  • Those exhibiting symptoms akin to elderly conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease.
  • Individuals with atypical symptoms, such as unexplained seizures or resistance to anti-seizure medications.
  • Children with delayed or abnormal development, and autism spectrum disorder.
  • People experiencing abnormal bodily movements.
  • Those facing vision or hearing problems related to the nervous system.
  • Individuals with a family history of neurological disorders, including parents, siblings, or children.

The Significance of Genetic Screening:

Genetic screening for inherited neurological and nervous system disorders holds crucial importance for various reasons:

  • Diagnosing individuals already displaying symptoms.
  • Assessing future disease risk.
  • Aiding in family planning decisions.
  • Assisting in selecting healthy embryos as part of reproductive technologies.
  • Prenatal assessment of the fetus.
  • Early testing for newborns.
  • Guiding appropriate treatment approaches for those with neurological diseases.

Comparing Individuals with Normal and Abnormal Genes:

  1. Factors Influencing Disease Development:
    • Individuals with normal genes:
      • Age
      • Infections
      • Lifestyle factors
      • Dietary habits
      • Alcohol consumption
      • Smoking
      • Underlying conditions can contribute
    • Individuals with abnormal genes: Those in this group face a higher risk, with minor triggers or even none at all potentially leading to symptom onset.
  2. Age of Disease Onset:
    • People with normal genes: Diseases like Alzheimer's typically affect the elderly.
    • Individuals with abnormal genes: Early-onset diseases can strike at a younger age, sometimes manifesting as incurable inherited genetic disorders.
  3. Disorder Severity:
    • People with normal genes: Severity often aligns with standard medical guidelines.
    • Individuals with abnormal genes: Severity may not depend on triggering factors, with even minor or no triggers leading to severe symptoms, especially in youth.
  4. Screening Frequency and Age:
    • People with normal genes: Generally, screening occurs when symptoms appear or as individuals age.
    • Individuals with abnormal genes: This group should start screening early and undergo screening more frequently.
  5. Treatment:
    • People with normal genes: Treatment varies depending on the disorder and its severity.
    • Individuals with abnormal genes: Treatment is tailored to the specific disorder and its severity.
  6. Prevention:
    • People with normal genes: Standard preventive measures like maintaining good health, regular exercise, and avoiding risk factors apply.
    • Individuals with abnormal genes: In addition to standard measures, doctors may recommend gene-based treatments when feasible.

Key Differences in Genetic Screening Techniques

Two primary genetic screening types exist: medical grade and direct-to-consumer grade. They differ in the following ways:

  • Medical Grade Genetic Screening: This testing is orchestrated by specialized healthcare professionals within the medical facility. It adheres to standardized, well-established testing protocols. Here, genes are meticulously scrutinized, delivering unequivocal insights into the presence or absence of diseases or potential risks necessitating further scrutiny. Subsequently, the results are expertly interpreted and comprehensively explained by the healthcare professionals overseeing the screening process.
  • Direct-to-Consumer Grade Genetic Screening: This type of testing allows individuals to order and perform genetic tests in the comfort of their homes using available testing kits. However, it may lack standardized sample collection and testing procedures. Instead, it typically focuses on the examination of genes associated with specific high-risk disorders, providing information on the likelihood of these conditions being present. The interpretation and explanation of results may not be conducted by healthcare professionals or experts in the field, and the testing might not cover the full spectrum of possible genetic factors that could be involved in a given condition.

What to Do if a Genetic Disorder Risk Is Detected

For those at risk, lifestyle modifications may be recommended to reduce risk factors. Further testing might be suggested to determine the presence or risk of specific conditions. Medications or supplements could also help reduce the chance of a disorder. Ongoing research explores gene-based treatments.

Genetic screening for inherited neurological and nervous system disorders is accessible and highly beneficial. Consultation with expert doctors is encouraged for those interested in testing.

Couples planning to have children often undergo preconception gene screening. This aids in selecting embryos with normal genes, utilizing assisted reproductive technology to reintroduce healthy embryos for further development.


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