Alzheimer’s and the dark side of early detection

After reading today’s reports on the new Alzheimer’s disease guidelines, see my post at Nature Network Boston on overdiagnosis, drug compnay marketing and the downside of early detection. Also, check out the comments on the Globe story. While some stray into the area of conspiracy theories, readers do seem aware of these issue.

…(W)hile the quest to prevent disease before it becomes disabling is worthwhile, it also opens the door to marginal, expensive and potentially toxic drugs and overdiagnosis – defining the well as sick.

In other words, primary prevention has a dark side.

So with that in mind, we decided to check into the current sponsors of the Alzheimer’s Association, which worked with NIH on the news guidelines.

Non-profit group that promote research into a particular disease are heavily dependent on donation from drug companies. And drug companies use these relationships as a way to market their drugs. That’s not to say that pharma execs don’t care about preventing AD. But connecting with patients groups is as much about sales as it is about cures.

More here.

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