May 11, 2010

Is a Cheap Genetic Test for Alzheimer's Coming on the Market?

I bring this up because I receive many emails asking me how to get a genetic test for Alzheimer's disease.....
Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Personal DNA testing kits will become available at Walgreens on Friday (except in New York). The expected retail price is around $30. This might be interesting to people predisposed to heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer's.

It is unclear to me after reading the many articles available and the Pathway Genomics website if the $30 test will include testing for predisposition to Alzheimer's disease. It appears that test will require a more expensive test that runs $179 (or more).

I bring this up because I receive many emails asking me how to get a genetic test for Alzheimer's disease. Those related to someone with Alzheimer's are particularly interested in being testing. Many parents also want to test their kids.

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While testing for predisposition to Alzheimer's is becoming very popular, there is no hard science that these test are accurate.

In addition, predisposition is an elusive term. Are you predisposed to Alzheimer's by 20 percent or by 40 percent? Are your chances of contracting Alzheimer's disease one in five or two in five?

We already know you have a one in eight chance at age 65. And, about a 42 percent chance if you live to the age of 85?

So what exactly is the test going to tell you? Accuracy issues aside.

If you are worried about Alzheimer's you should be making dramatic and important health and life style changes. If the already known statistics are not enough to get you to start trying to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's via lifestyle and healthy living, go ahead and get the test. Maybe it will convince you to do what you should already be doing.

If you are worried about Alzheimer's then start doing: real exercise that gets your heart rate up, eating Mediterranean style diet, and get your cholesterol down and reduce the size of your belly.

Start here, read this article and then follow the links if you are worried about Alzheimer's disease -- Combination of Mediterranean Diet and Exercise Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer's by 60 Percent

I'll write about this issue again shortly with five good recommendations.

In the meantime, here is the press release from Pathway Genomics.


Pathway Genomics (, a U.S.-based genetic testing company, today announced that Pathway’s personal genetic testing kits will be available at Walgreens. Starting in mid-May the Pathway Genomics Insight™ Saliva Collection Kit will be sold at many of Walgreens’ nearly 7,500 stores nationwide (with the exception of New York, due to a New York state law). The Insight™ Saliva Collection Kit will retail in the $20 to $30 price range.

The Insight™ Saliva Collection Kit contains a small saliva collection kit, simple instructions, and a postage-paid envelope that customers can use to send their saliva sample back to the Pathway Genomics laboratory. From there, they simply visit Pathway’s web site ( to create their own secure, password-protected account and order an individualized Genetic Insight™ Report for Drug Response ($79), Pre-Pregnancy Planning ($179), Health Conditions ($179) or a combination of all three ($249). Pathway’s Genetics Insight™ Reports offer consumers a convenient and affordable way to learn about their personal genetics.

“We’re revolutionizing the way people access information about their genetics, and through thousands of convenient Walgreens locations, we’re making it easier and more affordable than ever before to order a personalized genetic report,” said Jim Plante, CEO of Pathway Genomics. “The value of knowing how genes play a role in our personal lives, and potentially the lives of our children, is critical for making well-informed health and wellness decisions.”

Pathway Genomics believes that personalized genetic reports are quickly becoming a critical component for providing useful insight into a person’s DNA make up and genetic data. For instance, a Pathway Genomics Genetic Insight™ Report can provide a wide range of information to help an individual learn about their health and make healthier lifestyle choices.

For example, with a Pathway Genomics Genetic Insight™ Report for prescription medications, people can discover if due to their genetic traits, they are more or less sensitive to a variety of treatment therapies.

Pathway Genomics Genetic Insight™ Reports are ordered separately from the Insight™ Saliva Collection Kit by logging on to Reports available include a Drug Response Insight™ for just $79, a Pre-Pregnancy Planning Insight™ for $179, a Health Conditions Insight™ for $179, or a Total Health Insight™ combining three genetic reports for $249.

About Pathway Genomics
Located in San Diego, California, Pathway Genomics is a privately held, venture-backed company that offers both genetic health and ancestry reports.

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