Friday, July 17, 2009

Should long term care companies be able to access genetic tests for Alzheimer's?

Denise Grady has a story in the Thursday July 16 New York Times “Learning of Risk of Alzheimer’s Seems to Do No Harm”, link here (may require registration). The study was conducted at Boston University and will soon be published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

There is concern over a gene called APOE, for apolipoprotein E, which comprises several types, e2 through e4. The presence of e4 seems to be correlated with a higher occurrence of Alzehimer’s but it is far from definitive, either way.

One important issue is that right now insurance companies can look at genetic tests for long term care insurance, but not for other insurance (also cannot be used for employment). There may well develop political pressure to pass legislation to prevent companies from doing so for LTC as well.

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