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 WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

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: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>