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Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 1994;8(2):126-47.

Molecular genetic predictive testing for Alzheimer's disease: deliberations and preliminary recommendations.

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  • 1Geriatric Psychiatry Service, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Forty-one participants representing diverse professional back-grounds attended a workshop on genetic predictive testing for familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) on January 23, 1993 at Surrey Place Centre in Toronto, Canada. Rapidly emerging molecular genetic findings in AD indicate that predictive testing is now technologically feasible for selected individuals, although defining eligibility criteria remains problematic. Legal, ethical, biomedical, and psychosocial issues related to establishing predictive testing programs for AD were discussed at the workshop. This article reflects these discussions, provides the current biomedical background for them and examines the Huntington's disease (HD) predictive testing experience. Observations concerning molecular genetic predictive testing for AD in light of its genetic heterogeneity and clinical characteristics, such as usual later age of onset than HD, are presented. It is proposed that predictive testing for AD can now be cautiously offered in a research setting primarily according to the recommendations contained within the Ethical Issues Policy Statement on Huntington's Disease Molecular Genetics Predictive Test. However, in their application to AD, some points in the statement are considered to require emphasis, modification, or currently to be of uncertain applicability. This represents an initial step in an on-going process of debate concerning AD that will be required as new advances occur in genetic and clinical research and in bioethics.

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