When should Alzheimer's be diagnosed?

New research conducted by a national coalition, which included doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., might redefine Alzheimer's.

Physicians are looking at physical changes in the brain, using scans and spinal taps, which may signal that a patient has Alzheimer's before symptoms appear. The doctors will continue to rely on the diagnostic tools they've long used to determine whether a patient has Alzheimer's.

This approach is strictly for research purposes.

But what do the tests mean for the way people think about aging and the disease? And what would be the ethical implications for an early Alzheimer's diagnosis?

Two guests joined host Kerri Miller to talk about this development in Alzheimer's research.

Dr. Ronald Petersen directs the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Professor Susan Wolf is the is the McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine & Public Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Use the audio player above to listen to their conversation.

Correction (April 18, 2018): An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Mayo had developed new tests for Alzheimer's.

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