Genetic Testing as Part of a Plan for Preemptive Suicide in the Face of Impending Dementia
Genetic testing is an important factor in an array of biomarkers that help patients and clinicians to estimate an individual’s risk for developing Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. This array of tests makes more feasible the possibility of choosing to end one’s life before one becomes demented. These new possibilities raise important ethical issues. Should clinicians, researchers, and regulators seek to erect roadblocks in the path of individuals who seek this information, in a paternalistic attempt to thwart rational suicide? Do volunteers in research have a right to the “return of research results,” to use those results as they see fit? Should we think of suicide in the face of impending dementia as one rational choice to preserve one’s identity before the loss of self that is associated with Alzheimer’s, or should we continue to view suicide as either selfish, or deranged, or both?
KeywordsAlzheimer’s disease Dementia Genetic testing Suicide
Papers of particular interest, published recently are highlighted as: • Of importance
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