If a test shows you have a greater risk of Alzheimer's, should the doctor tell you? Would you want to know? Those are two different questions. On the first question, notes The New York Times, five different consensus statements by ethicists and neuorilogists were all in favor of no, do not tell. But in a study of people with a first-degree relative suffering from Alzheimer's, most people wanted to know.:
But his subjects were fine with the testing. After they gave the subjects their test results, researchers looked for psychological effects, observing participants in conversations and administering standardized questions designed to detect anxiety or depression or suicidal thoughts. They found nothing.
The downside of knowing is that there is no way to prevent Alzheimer's or keep it from progressing once it is present, so why torture yourself with that knolwedge. The reason to know, though, is that we can plan our lives a little better. Not quite sure if I'd want to know or not. Would you?