Safety of disclosing amyloid status in cognitively normal older adults

Jeffrey M. Burns, David K Johnson, Edward P. Liebmann, Rebecca J. Bothwell, Jill K. Morris, Eric D. Vidoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Introduction Disclosing amyloid status to cognitively normal individuals remains controversial given our lack of understanding the test's clinical significance and unknown psychological risk. Methods We assessed the effect of amyloid status disclosure on anxiety and depression before disclosure, at disclosure, and 6 weeks and 6 months postdisclosure and test-related distress after disclosure. Results Clinicians disclosed amyloid status to 97 cognitively normal older adults (27 had elevated cerebral amyloid). There was no difference in depressive symptoms across groups over time. There was a significant group by time interaction in anxiety, although post hoc analyses revealed no group differences at any time point, suggesting a minimal nonsustained increase in anxiety symptoms immediately postdisclosure in the elevated group. Slight but measureable increases in test-related distress were present after disclosure and were related to greater baseline levels of anxiety and depression. Discussion Disclosing amyloid imaging results to cognitively normal adults in the clinical research setting with pre- and postdisclosure counseling has a low risk of psychological harm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1024-1030
Number of pages7
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Amyloid PET imaging
  • Anxiety
  • Biomedical ethics
  • Depression
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Preclinical Alzheimer's disease
  • Safety
  • Truth disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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