Alzheimer's In The Family

Something in the Weisses' DNA seems to put them at risk, but new hope could spring from their burden

Anne Nagel seems determined to greet every last one of her guests personally. "I'm so happy to see you! I'm so glad you could make it," she says, flashing her infectious smile over and over. Some five dozen family members--brothers, sisters, children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren--have crowded into Maguire's, an old-fashioned wood-paneled Irish bar and restaurant in the Bayside section of Queens, N.Y., festooned on this chilly, bright November Saturday with pink and purple balloons for her 90th-birthday party.

To an outsider, Anne appears perfectly normal. She is impeccably dressed, her white hair is immaculate, and she wears a corsage of...

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