Falcon Reviews

Falcon Faculty Member Featured in New York Times
Dr. Michael Rafii’s Research into Alzheimer’s Disease makes Front Page News

At Falcon Reviews, our faculty members are more than top-quality PhD and MD professors with USMLE experience — they’re also experienced in real-world science and research. Falcon staff member Dr. Michael Rafii’s research into Alzheimer’s disease was recently featured on the front page of the New York Times.

A neurologist at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Rafii is also an investigator in a large federal study exploring the early signs of Alzheimer’s. New diagnostic tests, including spinal taps, M.R.I.s, and PET scans, have made it possible for doctors to recognize the disease in its very early stages, before it manifests through observable symptoms. The advanced knowledge that an individual may be at increased risk for Alzheimer’s has led to a moral dilemma regarding whether or not to share this news with patients. The New York Times article, titled “Tests Detect Alzheimer’s Risks, but Should Patients Be Told?” is part of The Vanishing Mind series, focusing on the disease.

While it’s exciting to discover new advances in disease detection, the information can be devastating for patients — especially when there may not be an effective treatment. Will patients benefit from the information, or will they be harmed by the certainty of an impending disease, over which they have no control? In a study conducted by Boston University, nearly a quarter of patients requested their diagnosis be revealed. So far, the psychological impact has not been negative. In fact, many patients with high-risk diagnoses responded by increasing exercise, and beginning vitamin and nutritional supplement usage, although these measures have not been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s risk.

If your doctor knew you had a degenerative disease about which you could do nothing, would you want to know? As doctors, what is the greater responsibility to our patients — to inform, or to do no harm?

Click here to read the full article, and learn how a Falcon faculty member is making a difference in the world today. And be sure to explore our “Faculty” section to learn more about Falcon faculty members and how they’re contributing to the world of medicine.

 

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