Finding out that you are predisposed to Alzheimer's disease doesn't appear to impart any short-term psychological risks, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers randomly assigned 162 adults with a parent with Alzheimer's disease to receive the results of their own APOE test or not and measured the participants for anxiety, depression, and test-related distress six weeks, six months, and one year afterward. There were no significant differences between the groups, other than the APOE4 negative group reporting less test-related distress. "Some people might say, 'I'm thinking about this a lot,' but it didn't translate into long-term depression or anxiety," author Scott Roberts says, according to Scientific Blogging.
At Technology Review, lead author Robert Green adds, "Even though patients clearly understood there was nothing they could do to stave off the disease, they had nonmedical reasons to learn about it: to prepare their children, to think about the longevity of careers."