Grandma has Alzheimers disease – should you sign her up for a new research study, even if she doesnt really understand what it entails? What if the research has real risks, is unlikely to benefit her, but could lead to advances that will help future patients with Alzheimers? A new study sheds light on these questions, which may come up more often as potential treatments require more involved and invasive research.
"As potential new therapies such as vaccines, gene therapy, and new drugs are being tested, the need for research must be balanced with the need to protect vulnerable adults," said Scott Y. H. Kim, MD, PhD, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. "This continues to be an area with unsettled policy, and there is little data to guide policymakers. It doesnt seem ideal to leave these important ethical questions solely to politics. This study shows that its possible to learn the views of key stakeholder groups, and they can provide important insights."
People at heightened risk for Alzheimers disease – 229 people who were over 70 and had at least one close relative with the disease – took part in the study, which is published in the November 8, 2005, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Marilee Tuite | EurekAlert!
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