The toll of prominent Americans and people worldwide diagnosed with Alzheimer's continues to advance.  The latest: the winningest coach (408-165-14 in 57 seasons)  in College Football History, Grambling University's Eddie Robinson, has been diagnosed with the disease.  

You can read more here:

Eddie Robinson struggling with Alzheimer's - Seattle Times
Grambling Legend's Condition Worsening - ESPN

Early detection is now more important than ever.  

Boston University Research: Revealing genetic Alzheimer's link can ease fears

By Kay Lazar

Thursday, July 22, 2004

If you are carrying the gene that signals a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, would you want to know? 

Ironically, knowing one's genetic risk can ease anxiety, say researchers at Boston University School of Medicine. 

In a new study of 162 adult children of people with Alzheimer's, two-thirds of those who turned out to have a genetic marker for the disease said they did not become more anxious after finding out, and 10 percent said their anxieties actually lessened.

For those who found out the tests revealed no genetic risk, nearly three-quarters said their anxieties eased, and a quarter said they stayed the same.

"Everyone came in expecting bad news and when they got good news it made them feel better,"said Dr. Robert Green, a BU genetic epidemiologist and co-author of the study. 

With scientists already testing medications that could slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer's, Green said more and more people will face the decision of whether to find out their genetic risk.

If you had a treatment, and it's costly and it might have side effects, you are not going to want to give it to everyone," Green said. "You will need measures of who is at risk and who is not."

Green said many experts are still hesitant about encouraging Alzheimer's genetic testing or disclosing results for fear of traumatizing patients. But he said his study also included counseling for patients to help them understand the results. For instance, patients who had the marker were assured that it did not guarantee they would get the disease, only that it increased their risk.

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