A recent article in National Geographic ponders the questions: Can Alzheimer’s disease be predicted? And if it could, would you want to take the test?
With the release of three new studies suggesting that it may become possible to diagnose Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear, these questions have become more relevant. The studies share the potential to “help us understand the early stages of the disease,” says Dean Hartley, director of science initiatives for the Alzheimer’s Association—and to improve treatment.
However, because the current options for treating the disease are limited, the question of wanting to take a test to find out one’s risk can be complicated.
“If someone told me that there is a great test for someone like me, I wouldn’t want it,” says Jason Karlawish, professor of medicine, medical ethics, and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Penn Memory Center. “It would be knowledge that would add to my level of existential anxiety.”
You can read the full article at National Geographic.com.