MPR News with Kerri Miller

When should Alzheimer's be diagnosed?

April 17, 2018

Getting the Alzheimer's patient into a study before they exhibited symptoms is the goal. But is it beneficial to the patient to know they might have a disease with no known cure? New research conducted by doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. might redefine Alzheimer's. Researchers have developed a new brain scan and spinal fluid test that look for physical changes in the brain which may signal that a patient has Alzheimer's before symptoms appear. The tests aren't ready for routine use in patient care, and doctors will continue to rely on the diagnostic tools they've long used to determine whether a patient has Alzheimer's. But what do the tests mean for the way people think about aging and the disease? And what would be the ethical implications for an early Alzheimer's diagnosis? Two guests joined host Kerri Miller to talk about the latest development in Alzheimer's research. Dr. Ronald Petersen directs the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Professor Susan Wolf is the is the McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine & Public Policy at the University of Minnesota.

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