Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Alzheimer's risk: Would you want to know?

17.07.2009
When people learn they are predisposed to Alzheimer's disease, any depression or anxiety is not long lasting, a new study indicates.

These findings help address a longstanding debate about whether learning such information might cause lasting psychological harm, at least among those with a family history of Alzheimer's disease, says Scott Roberts, a University of Michigan researcher at the School of Public Health and co-author of the study findings, which appear today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

People with a family history are already at higher risk, which is further increased if they also carry a certain version of the gene called Apolipoprotein E (APOE).

Roberts and colleagues at Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, and Cornell Medical College tested 162 people with a parent with Alzheimer's, which means their risk for developing the disease by age 85 is about 30-35 percent, compared with the general population risk of about 10-15 percent.

After an educational session about Alzheimer's and genetic testing, researchers tested people for their APOE genotype to learn if they carried the genetic variant. The presence of the gene increases the risk for those with a family history of Alzheimer's to more than 50 percent. For subjects who did agree to the test, specially trained genetic counselors then disclosed results and researchers followed participants over one year to determine the impact of risk information.

The researchers measured anxiety, depression and test-related distress after six weeks, six months, and one year. Test-related distress did increase slightly at six weeks for people with the risk-increasing form of the gene, but not at 6 months or one year, Roberts said. Anxiety and depression levels remained stable.

"Some people might say, 'I'm thinking about this a lot,' but it didn't translate into long-term depression or anxiety," Roberts said. "The findings show if you do (disclose this genetic information) genetic counseling may be an important component to ensure that most people do not respond with significant distress.

"Genetic counselors help put the test results in context so that people understand the meaning and limits of the results," Roberts said. For example, for participants with a 55 percent lifetime risk, counselors explained that there was a 45 percent chance that they would never develop the disease.

The APOE link to Alzheimer's was identified in the 1990s, and traditionally, the medical community doesn't favor disclosure of the APOE genotype---or other genetic markers---unless telling patients directly impacts clinical treatment, Roberts says. However, now that private companies offer genetic testing for a variety of conditions, the debate over clinical utility versus personal utility is growing.

Some argue it's paternalistic to tell people what information they can or cannot know about their own genome, he says. After the initial educational session, 20 percent of the subjects opted out of the actual test, which means the majority wanted to know.

"I think most adult children of Alzheimer's patients would favor the right to at least have the choice," he said.

Roberts conducted this research while at Boston University. He came to the U-M in 2006.

Roberts is second author on the paper, called "Disclosure of APOE Genotype for Risk of Alzheimer's Disease," and co-principal investigator on the Risk Evaluation and Education for Alzheimer's Disease (REVEAL), a series of randomized clinical trials examining the impact of a genetic susceptibility testing program for adult children of people with Alzheimer's.

For more on Roberts: www.sph.umich.edu/hbhegenetics/scottroberts.html

For more on REVEAL: http://www.bu.edu/alzresearch/research/genetics/reveal/index.html

The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been working to promote health and prevent disease since 1941, and is consistently ranked among the top five public health schools in the nation.

Laura Bailey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>