If you had the opportunity to take a test to see if you are at risk for Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia would you? This past April, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, an Eli Lilly subsidiary, received FDA approval for AMYViD, the first diagnostic PET tracer for estimation of beta-amyloid neuritic plaque density. It is used to evaluate a patient for Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of cognitive disease.
The test will allow doctors to identify those who are at risk for the disease even before they show symptoms.
The decision to move forward with the test is fraught with complexities. A positive result could complicate family dynamics, lead to discrimination by doctors, employers and insurance companies, or a possible increase in suicide rates.
Dr. Claudia Kawas, a geriatric neurologist at UC Irvine told the Courier-Journal that she recently saw a patient who arrived at her office with two sheets of paper. One was an article about the approval for AMYViD and the other was a last will and testament. Kawas said that the patient vowed to kill himself if the test came back positive.
But the test also has a positive side. In some studies patients who were thought to have Alzheimer’s didn’t and that information allowed doctors to seek other explanations for patients with Alzheimer’s-like symptoms.
The decision is complex. What are your thoughts? Would you take the test?
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