EARLY WARNINGS

Alzheimer's Tests Pose Ethical Dilemma

New testing methods can show early signs of dementia and Alzheimer's, years before a patient is fully diagnosed with the disease. But when a patient is functioning normally and there is no treatment for the brain degeneration, what's a doctor to do? One neurologist, says doctors are getting better at determining very early signs of Alzheimer's but he is still "grappling" with the issue of telling patients. One possible solution to the problem is conducting experimental tests that can give curious patients some indication if they are heading in the Alzheimer-direction, but without giving them full details. Several studies have also been conducted on the after-effects of telling patients when they are at a high risk of the disease. They found that patients took more vitamins, did more exercise and tried to live a healthier lifestyle overall, even though these have no affect on staving off Alzheimer's.