Article

Estimating and disclosing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease: challenges, controversies and future directions.

Department of Health Behavior & Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Future Neurology 07/2010; 5(4):501-517. DOI: 10.2217/fnl.10.31
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT With Alzheimer's disease increasing in prevalence and public awareness, more people are becoming interested in learning their chances of developing this condition. Disclosing Alzheimer's disease risk has been discouraged because of the limited predictive value of available tests, lack of prevention and treatment options, and concerns regarding potential psychological and social harms. However, challenges to this status quo include the availability of direct-to-consumer health risk information (e.g., genetic susceptibility tests), as well as a growing literature suggesting that people seeking risk information for Alzheimer's disease through formal education and counseling protocols generally find it useful and do not experience adverse effects. This paper reviews current and potential methods of risk assessment for Alzheimer's disease, discusses the process and impact of disclosing risk to interested patients and consumers, and considers the practical and ethical challenges in this emerging area. Anticipated future directions are addressed.

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