Given the potential use of biomarkers in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in early stages, new ethical and communication dilemmas appear in everyday clinical practice. The aim of this study was to know the opinion of health professionals (HP) and general public (GP) on the implementation of early diagnostic techniques in AD and the use of biomarkers for this purpose. A survey with multiple choice answers was elaborated in two versions: one for HP and the other for GP. Respondents were invited to participate through a system of mass mailing e-mail; e-mail addresses were collected from CEMIC database. A total of 1503 answers were analyzed: 807 HP and 696 GP. Most respondents, 84.7%, preferred the option of early diagnosis of AD even knowing the lack of curative treatment. Forty five percent of GP and 26.8% of HP replied that there is no ethical dilemma in the use of biomarkers and that no communication or ethical dilemma is generated to physicians when informing the diagnosis of the disease. The HP group showed more divergence in the views than the GP group. These results may indicate a change in the physician-patient relationship, showing the GP group with an active and supportive position towards the use of biomarkers for early diagnosis of AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; biomarkers; early diagnosis; ethics; opinion survey.