Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly
Alzheimer's Testing Cover Story, Original Broadcast Date: December 14, 2007 (Show #1115):
More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) - a progressive and fatal brain disorder for which there is no treatment. By the year 2050, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to triple. While this disorder can occur in people in their 30s and 40s, it is most prevalent among older individuals: about one in 10 persons 65 years of age and older and almost half of those 85 years of age and beyond become afflicted. However, there is now a promising new blood test that may make it possible to determine who is likely to develop the illness. But should people take it and how will their test results be used? Bob Faw examines the moral and ethical dilemma people face when deciding whether they should be tested for Alzheimer's. Doctor Ames Burke at Duke University notes, "The downside to symptomatic or early symptomatic testing is that there is no intervention that we can do at this time. Taking away people's hope is not something to be done lightly." But Nancy Kader with the Center for The Study of Ethics observes. "I think the patient has a personal responsibility to learn these kinds of things, so that they can prepare themselves, and prepare their loved ones."
Featured (in alphabetical order):
Dr. James Burke, Director of the Clinical Core, Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Duke University Medical Center
Nancy Kader, Center For the Study of Ethics