Thursday, March 13, 2008

Test can tell if you're destined for Alzheimer's, but then what?

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Julian Awad is only 34, but he wants to know whether he has an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease after he reaches retirement age.
Alzheimer's killed Awad's maternal grandfather and, indirectly, his grandmother. She died, Awad says, from the stress of caring for her husband.
Awad plans to be first in line this spring when his Philadelphia company, Smart Genetics, begins testing saliva samples for the only known genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's
Even if Awad and his mother carry the genetic variant that raises Alzheimer's risk, there's no guarantee they'll develop the disease, and, at this point, there's no guaranteed way to protect against it.
And that, some scientists say, capsulizes the problem with Smart Genetics' $399 "Alzheimer's Mirror" test, the first genetic test for Alzheimer's susceptibility marketed directly to consumers.
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The packaging for
"Alzheimer's Mirror," the test kit that will let consumers see if they have a predisposition for late-onset Alzheimer's.

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The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease and Memory Loss in Later Life