NPR

A Genetic Test That Reveals Alzheimer's Risk Can Be Cathartic Or Distressing

Genetic tests can now tell us a lot about our risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. But that doesn't mean people are prepared to receive the information.
Researchers are hoping to learn how to effectively convey information about people's risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, a dementia still without a cure. Source: Thanasis Zovoilis

In a waiting room at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, a 74-year-old woman named Rubie is about to find out whether she has a gene that puts her at risk for Alzheimer's.

"I'm a little bit apprehensive about it, and I hope I don't have it," she says. "But if I do, I want to be able to plan for my future."

The gene is called APOE E4, and it's the most powerful known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's after age 65.

APOE E4 doesn't cause the disease, and many

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