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Testing genes for disease does not cause harm to children of people with Alzheimers

Testing for risk of Alzheimers disease in children of patients with Alzheimers// was thought to be harmful to them. It was suggested that such genetic testing might increase the anxiety or depression in children of the parents with Alzheimers. A new study points out that this may not be true. Genetical testing has no effect on the mental health of offsprings of patients with Alzheimers. Often the participants of the study felt empowered from knowing the test results.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine had conducted the study that had focused on the genetical testing for the biomarker ApoE4, which is the part of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene of adult children of patients with Alzheimers. ApoE4 is linked with incidence of Alzheimer's disease. The data was a comparison between two sets of participants, one who were told that they are either positive or negative in the test, and the other group, where the participants did not know of their gene test status.

The results showed no significant difference in their test results taken for depression and anxiety between the two groups. More than 90% of the total participants for the study said that they would choose the test for assessing their risk to the disease again and 82% said that they would refer their other family members and friends also to go for it.

Reference: Boston University School of Medicine, news release, June 2005

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