Do You Want to Know if You’re at Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s?
Phoenix Research Team is hoping to learn how to effectively convey information about people's risk for developing Alzheimer's disease and Dementia
Medical tests can now determine the risk for Alzheimer's disease, but taking these tests can be unsettling. “NPR's Jon Hamilton saw this firsthand at a research center in Phoenix, where he spoke to people before and after they received their test results. The participants are identified by their first names only, in order to protect their privacy.” Here are excerpts from the NPR article about the Phoenix research center and genetic testing for Alzheimers:
“In a waiting room at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, a 74-year-old woman named Rubie is about to find out whether she has a gene that puts her at risk for Alzheimer's.”
"I'm a little bit apprehensive about it, and I hope I don't have it," she says. "But if I do, I want to be able to plan for my future."
The gene is called APOE E4, and it's the most powerful known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's for people age 65 and older. APOE E4 doesn't cause the disease, and many of those who carry it never develop Alzheimer's.
Still, about 1 in 4 people who carry a single copy will develop Alzheimer's by age 85. Among people who get two copies (one from each parent), up to 55% will develop Alzheimer's by age 85.
Rubie is one of several participants in a research study at Banner who agreed to speak both before and after learning their APOE E4 status. Like many people in their 60s and 70s, Rubie has seen dementia up close. "My mother had Alzheimer's in the last stage of her life, and I've got friends and family that have Alzheimer's," she says. "It's a terrible sickness."
Rubie wanted to do something to help researchers find a treatment for Alzheimer's, so she volunteered for the Generation Program, which is testing an experimental drug meant to prevent or delay the disease. This program is now closed. To read more about Banner’s research and genetic testing click HERE
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