Some with Elevated Alzheimer’s Biomarkers Interested in Aid-in-Dying Information Interview with:

Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RNAssistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Health PolicyPerelman School of MedicineLeonard Davis Institute of Health EconomicsUniversity of Pennsylvania

Dr. Largent

Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN
Assistant ProfessorMedical Ethics and Health Policy
Perelman School of Medicine
Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response:  Public support for aid in dying in the United States is rapidly growing.  As a result, we’re now seeing debates about whether to expand access to aid-in-dying to new populations – such as people with Alzheimer’s disease – who wouldn’t be eligible under current laws.

With those debates in mind, we asked currently healthy people who recently learned about their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease dementia (i.e., due to the presence of amyloid, an Alzheimer’s disease biomarker) whether they would be interested in aid-in-dying.

Our findings suggest that about 20% of individuals with elevated amyloid may be interested in aid-in-dying if they become cognitively impaired. What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  Interest in aid-in-dying among people with an Alzheimer’s disease biomarker is similar to interest in aid-in-dying among populations with terminal diagnoses. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: More research is needed to understand end-of-life care preferences among people at risk for dementia.

I have no disclosures. 


Largent EA, Terrasse M, Harkins K, Sisti DA, Sankar P, Karlawish J. Attitudes Toward Physician-Assisted Death From Individuals Who Learn They Have an Alzheimer Disease Biomarker. JAMA Neurol. Published online April 29, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.0797




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