Should People With No Symptoms Get A Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease?

doctor and older patient look at ipad

by Howard Gleckman, immediate past president of JCA, an Urban Institute Fellow, journalist, and the author of Caring for Our Parents

The National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association have proposed revised clinical guidelines that would designate seven major stages of the brain disease. The first two would be for people who have no symptoms but may be at higher risk for Alzheimer’s.

These technical guidelines, which would update a 2018 version, could have enormous, and conflicting, implications for drug research, health care costs, access to insurance, and the psychological well-being of older adults.

At almost the same time, Quest Diagnostics announced it has begun selling a $399 home test that it claims will show consumers if they are at risk for developing Alzheimer’s. While the benefits remain unproven, it raises many of the same issues.

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