Changes to perceptions of the pros and cons of genetic susceptibility testing after APOE genotyping for Alzheimer disease risk

Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029, USA.
Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics (Impact Factor: 7.33). 01/2011; 13(5):409-14. DOI: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e3182076bf1
Source: PubMed


Perceptions about the pros and cons of genetic susceptibility testing are among the best predictors of test utilization. How actual testing changes such perceptions has yet to be examined.
In a clinical trial, first-degree relatives of patients with Alzheimer disease received genetic risk assessments for Alzheimer disease including APOE disclosure. Participants rated 11 possible benefits associated with genetic testing (pros) and 10 risks or limitations (cons) before genetic risk disclosure and again 12 months afterward.
Pros were rated higher than cons at baseline (3.53 vs. 1.83, P < 0.001) and at 12 months after risk disclosure (3.33 vs. 1.88, P < 0.001). Ratings of pros decreased during the 12-month period (3.33 vs. 3.53, P < 0.001). Ratings of cons did not change (1.88 vs. 1.83, P = 0.199) except for a three-item discrimination subscale which increased (2.07 vs. 1.92, P = 0.012). Among specific pros and cons, three items related to prevention and treatment changed the most.
The process of APOE genetic risk assessment for Alzheimer disease sensitizes some to its limitations and the risks of discrimination; however, 1-year after disclosure, test recipients still consider the pros to strongly outweigh the cons.

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    • "The psychological impacts of apoE genotyping in the context of AD have been the focus of some study (Christensen et al. 2011; Roberts et al. 2005; Romero et al. 2005). These previous studies have found that apoE genotyping, in the context of AD, had more benefits than harm (Christensen et al. 2011). The experience of anxiety, worry, or depression did not differ between the high-risk and low-risk group either in the short-term or long-term (Green et al. 2009; Roberts et al. 2005; Romero et al. 2005). "
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