If you had the option of being tested to see if you had the marker for Alzheimer’s disease years before you showed any of the effects (e.g., forgetfulness, disorientation), would you want the test?
This is a long-debated question.
Many of us wonder why we’d want the test when there is no cure … yet.
Still, others, notably the research teams represented by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association who presented at an international Alzheimer’s meeting earlier this week, are excited.
I can see their position. If more of us are willing to be tested than research will progress with better diagnostic procedures possibly leading to a cure before an estimated 10 million of the 76 million baby boomers experience Alzheimer’s first hand in the years to come.
Imagine how far we’ve come already.
When my father was diagnosed in late 1996 the professionals were unsure. They said: “It’s not this. It’s not that. It’s probably Alzheimer’s.” Back then, to be sure, they’d have to do a brain autopsy.
Today’s diagnostics are far better approaching mid-90% accuracy depending on the cause of dementia being evaluated (e.g., Alzheimer’s, vascular, Parkinson’s). This undoubtedly is a result of people volunteering for studies.
Still, with Alzheimer’s on both sides of my family, I struggle with the idea of somehow being “blacklisted” by insurance companies (despite Obama’s health care initiatives –insurance for all).
What are your thoughts?
For more information, first read the New York Times article: Rules Seek to Expand Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
Thanks to John, my brother-in-law in South Milwaukee, who sent me this article link.