Having a parent with Alzheimer’s disease has been known to raise a person’s risk of developing the disease, but new research suggests that having second- and third-degree relatives who have had Alzheimer’s may also increase risk. The study is published in the March 13, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

First-degree relatives include parents and siblings who share both parents. Second-degree relatives include grandparents, blood-related aunts and uncles, and siblings who share one parent. Third-degree relatives include great-grandparents, great uncles, great aunts and first cousins.

“Family history is an important indicator of risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but most research focuses on dementia in immediate family members, so our study sought to look at the bigger family picture,” said study author Lisa A. Cannon-Albright, PhD, of the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City. “We found that having a broader view of family history may help better predict risk. These results potentially could lead to better diagnoses and help patients and their families in making health-related decisions.”

Read more at American Academy of Neurology