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Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most dreaded diagnoses, partly because there is no effective medication to stop it or slow it down. But new efforts to find treatments to stave off dementia before any symptoms appear raise important questions about potential overtreatment, two Michigan Medicine experts say.

Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D., and James Burke, M.D., wrote a Viewpoint in a recent edition of JAMA Internal Medicine about the potential for overdiagnosis and high costs if treatment for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease becomes widely used. Langa was also a co-author on a recent JAMA paper that addressed preventing dementia. Langa and his colleagues found that people with a healthier lifestyle had a lower risk for dementia in later life, even if they had genes that put them at high genetic risk.

Langa, the Cyrus Sturgis Professor of internal medicine, and Burke, an associate professor of neurology, discuss their main concerns and messages for patients.

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