Amyloid PET candidates may focus more on benefits than risks of results disclosure

TitleAmyloid PET candidates may focus more on benefits than risks of results disclosure
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLingler, J. H., Roberts, J. S., Kim, H., Morris, J. L., Hu, L., Mattos, M., McDade, E., & Lopez, O. L.
JournalAlzheimers Dement (Amst)
Start Page413
Date Published05/2018

INTRODUCTION: Given mounting calls to disclose biomarker test results to research participants, we explored factors underlying decisions by patients with mild cognitive impairment to receive amyloid imaging results.

METHODS: Prospective, qualitative interviews were conducted with 59 participants (30 = mild cognitive impairment patients, 29 = care partners) from the scan arm of a randomized controlled trial on the effects of amyloid PET results disclosure in an Alzheimer Disease Research Center setting.

RESULTS: Sixty-three percent of the participants were female, with an average age of 72.9 years, and most had greater than a high school level of education (80%). Primary motivations included: (1) better understanding one's mild cognitive impairment etiology and prognosis to plan ahead, and (2) learning one's brain amyloid status for knowledge's sake, regardless of whether the information is actionable. Most participants demonstrated an adequate understanding of the scan's limitations, yet instances of characterizing amyloid PET as a definitive test for Alzheimer's disease occurred. Mention of potential drawbacks, such as negative psychological outcomes, was minimal, even among care partners.

DISCUSSION: Findings demonstrate a risk of disproportionate focus on possible benefits of testing among amyloid scan candidates and suggest a need to clearly emphasize the limitations of amyloid PET when counseling cognitively impaired patients and their families before testing. Future research should examine whether minimizing drawbacks at the pre-imaging stage has adverse consequences on results disclosure.