Neuroethical Issues In Early Detection Of Alzheimer'S Disease

Marilyn Albert, Guy M. Mckhann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Neuroethical issues in the early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are likely to be characteristic of any disorder where the boundary conditions between being impaired and unimpaired are unclear. Initial research efforts were focused on examining patients with established disease. The article discusses some challenges for the clinical diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. The overarching ethical concern is that the term mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is being applied to patients in clinical settings, when the majority of the data pertains to risk for groups of subjects, as opposed to individuals. These same challenges regarding the boundary between normal and abnormal, and the probabilistic nature of predicting progression, apply to individuals with normal cognition. This balance between risks and benefits would, of course, change, when disease-modifying therapies are identified. Then potentially beneficial treatments could be instituted even when someone is cognitively normal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Neuroethics
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780191743948, 9780199570706
StatePublished - Nov 21 2012


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Clinical settings
  • Disease-modifying therapies
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Neuroethical issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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