Is Testing for Alzheimer's Ethical?

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

Regular readers know where the Brain Today blog stands on this one.

We have written many times that the world does not need a single, sweeping answer to the question about whether or not tests should be available to inform people about their future risk for Alzheimer's.  It is a question with as many individual answers as there are individuals on the planet.  Each person is entitled to make that decision for themselves so, of course the tests should be available.  Anyone who doesn't wish to know their risk profile will opt not to learn it.  Those who do wish to know, on the other hand, can do so.

However, the notion of individual rights to make their own decisions has not stopped a growing number of bio-ethicists from debating the topic on a daily basis.  They seek, for some reason, one unified position to which all people should adhere; the single, optimal stance on this complex issue.

In fact, the complexity of the issue is driven by the variability of individual circumstances across a population.  What is best for one person is not best for another.  A fantastic overview of the debate was published yesterday at  If this is a topic of interest to you, I encourage you to click through and read it.

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