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The challenges inherent in diagnosing and treating patients with Alzheimer's disease are increasing. Early diagnosis and modification of risk factors have received growing attention from the media in recent years. As a result, the general public, and patients and family members, are increasingly better informed about the disease, its genetic background, and the possibilities for treatment. The physician is often faced with questions about hereditary patterns within the family and with requests to perform genetic testing. Children, with increasing frequency, ask for a separate appointment with the treating physician, during the patient's life or after the patient has died, to discuss whether they are likely to get the disease and whether genetic tests should be performed. In this paper, some of the clinical and ethical questions that physicians face are explored. Arguments as to why we think routine genetic assessment should not be part of the diagnostic examination of the patient suspected of Alzheimer's disease are given.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52573.x

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Am Geriatr Soc

Publication Date

12/2004

Volume

52

Pages

2110 - 2113

Keywords

Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alzheimer Disease, Decision Making, Evidence-Based Medicine, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genetic Testing, Humans