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 Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>