News & CommentAlzheimer's Research

A Clash Over Testing for Alzheimer's Disease

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Science  15 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5366, pp. 1004
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5366.1004

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In October a bioethics panel issued a draft opinion stating that although testing for rare Alzheimer's genes--dominant mutations that almost invariably lead to early-onset disease--"may be appropriate" in the small number of families at risk, for the vast majority who get the disease later in life, "neither predictive nor diagnostic genetic testing for susceptibility genes (e.g., APOE) should be encouraged at this time." But the discoverer of the APOE -Alzheimer's connection, Duke University neurologist Allen Roses, claims that physicians correctly identify Alzheimer's in only 60% to 70% of patients and that testing APOE could raise that accuracy rate to 95%.