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“Will I Get Alzheimer Disease?” When Cognitively Normal Patients Ask to be Tested for Alzheimer Disease

Snider, B. Joy MD, PhD; Buckles, Virginia D. PhD

CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology: April 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 2, Dementia - p 470–474
doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000429171.50686.07
Ethical Perspectives

ABSTRACT This article presents the case of a cognitively normal patient who is requesting a procedure (amyloid imaging) recently approved for the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD) in patients with cognitive impairment. The predictive value of this test in unaffected people is not clearly established. Knowing the results of the test will have no effect on therapeutic options, although the patient may make lifestyle decisions based on the results. There is potential risk to the patient in terms of insurability, employability, and psychological consequences. Physicians will face this situation with increasing frequency as the AD biomarker field progresses.

Address correspondence to Dr B. Joy Snider, Washington University, Campus Box 8111 (BT 229), 660 S Euclid Ave, St Louis, MO 63110,

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Snider receives research support from Eli Lilly and Company for a clinical drug trial and anticipates serving as a site principal investigator and coinvestigator on such trials in the future. Dr Buckles reports no disclosure.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Drs Snider and Buckles report no disclosures.

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology
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