The Predictive Turn in Alzheimers Disease: Ethical, Clinical, Linguistic and Legal Aspects


New possibilities of predictive medicine have recently become not only better and more reliable, but also more accessible. A paradigm shift in medicine is emerging in which diagnostics on the basis of symptoms and therapy are complemented or even replaced by predictive diagnostics and prevention, and individual/public attitudes towards predictive medicine are changing. However, the improved possibilities of medical care bring about obvious and latent implications for the health of individuals, the health care system, and our society as a whole. Unanswered questions pertain to the (self)perception of the human being and its functions, the appreciation to learn about individual risks, the parameters of decision-making for or against prediction, the ensuing personal and societal responsibilities, and far-reaching effects on society, language, public discourse, regulation, and the health care system. The prediction of Alzheimer's disease is a vivid example for constant improvement of available predictive measures. In the near future, a simple blood test can potentially replace the current, more invasive methods, opening up an easily accessible method for healthy individuals to learn their future risk. In a descriptive, normative and evaluative approach, the perspectives of persons with first symptoms, higher risk due to family history or disposition, and healthy individuals are compared and embedded into a framework developed in fundamental ethical, linguistic and legal analyses.


Alzheimer's Disease, Predictive Medicine, Subjective Cognitive Decline, Decision Making, Individual Responsibility, Health Care System, Information and Consent, Linguistic Patterns, Public Discourse

Call topic

ELSA of Neuroscience

Proposed runtime

2021 - 2024

Project team

Christiane Woopen (Coordinator)
Germany (BMBF)
Ayda Rostamzadeh
Germany (BMBF)
Giovanni Frisoni
Switzerland (SNSF)
Merce Boada
Spain (ISCIII)

Lay summary