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Article
Ethical aspects of genetic counseling for Alzheimer's disease
Gerontology [Hebrew] (2008)
  • Israel Doron
  • Yehudit Reuveni
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a condition whose genetic background is a major focus of current scientific research. AD, whose prevalence increases with each decade from age 50, presents today’s aging society not only with a serious medical problem, but also with significant financial and social problems. Research into the genetic background of AD enables us to predict predisposition to the disease, presenting society with bio-ethical challenges, and confronting adults with dilemmas regarding their aging parents. One cannot ignore the argument that genetic testing for AD benefits society in general – after all, every individual who undergoes a test for AD contributes to scientific knowledge of the disease. However, this goes counter to the prevailing liberalism of Western society, which puts the rights of the individual before the general good. Future scientific breakthroughs and technological developments will no doubt prompt further public debate on other ethical dilemmas, some even more complex. The aim of this article is to consider the ethical aspects of offering genetic counseling for AD. To do this, a representative hypothetical case is analyzed using applied ethics. As this case analysis demonstrates, there is no moral justification, in light of the limited genetic understanding available, for performing widespread genetic testing in order to alleviate fears for the future and, in any case, such tests are illegal without informed consent.
Keywords
  • Alzheimer’s disease,
  • Genetics,
  • Bio-ethics
Publication Date
2008
Citation Information
Israel Doron and Yehudit Reuveni. "Ethical aspects of genetic counseling for Alzheimer's disease" Gerontology [Hebrew] Vol. 35 Iss. 2 (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/israel_doron/43/