Agnetha D Fruijtier, Jetske van der Schaar, Ingrid S van Maurik, Marissa D Zwan, Philip Scheltens, Femke Bouwman, Yolande A L Pijnenburg, Bart N M van Berckel, Jarith Ebenau, Wiesje M van der Flier, Ellen M A Smets, Leonie N C Visser



Introduction: Empirical studies on effective communication for amyloid disclosure in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are lacking. We aimed to study the impact of six communication strategies.

Method: We performed a randomized controlled trial with seven randomly assigned, video-vignette conditions: six emphasizing a communication strategy and one basic condition. All showed a scripted consultation of a neurologist disclosing positive amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) scan results to an MCI patient. Healthy individuals (N = 1017; mean age ± SD 64 ± 8, 808 (79%) female) were instructed to imagine themselves in the video, answered questionnaires assessing information recall, emotional state, and behavioral intentions, and evaluate the physician/information.

Results: “Risk best practice” resulted in highest free recall compared to other strategies (P < .05), except “emotional support”. Recall in “emotional support” was better compared to “basic-‘ and elaborate information”(P < .05). “Risk best practice” resulted in the highest uncertainty (P < .001). “Teach-back” and “emotional support” contributed to the highest evaluations (P -values < .01).

Conclusion: Risk communication best practices, attending to emotions, and teach-back techniques enhance information recall of amyloid-PET results, and could contribute to positive care evaluations.

Jetske van der Schaar, Leonie N. C. Visser, Femke H. Bouwman, Johannes C. F. Ket, Philip Scheltens, Annelien L. Bredenoord & Wiesje M. van der Flier




The NIA-AA research framework proposes a purely biological definition of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This implies that AD can be diagnosed based on biomarker abnormalities, irrespective of clinical manifestation. While this brings opportunities, it also raises challenges. We aimed to provide an overview of considerations regarding the disclosure of AD pathology before the onset of dementia.


A systematic literature review was conducted and reported according to PRISMA guidelines. We searched PubMed, Embase, APA PsycINFO, and Web of Science Core Collection (on 10 December 2020) for references on conveying AD biomarker results to individuals without dementia. Our query combined variations on the terms Alzheimer’s disease, disclosure, or diagnosis, preclinical or prodromal, and biomarkers. Two reviewers independently screened the resulting 6860 titles and abstracts for eligibility and examined 162 full-text records for relevance. We included theoretical articles in English, on communicating amyloid and/or tau results to individuals with mild cognitive impairment, subjective cognitive decline, or normal cognition. MAXQDA-software was used for inductive data analysis.


We included 27 publications. From these, we extracted 26 unique considerations, which we grouped according to their primary relevance to a clinical, personal, or societal context. Clinical considerations included (lack of) validity, utility, and disclosure protocols. Personal considerations covered psychological and behavioral implications, as well as the right to (not) know. Finally, societal considerations comprised the risk of misconception, stigmatization, and discrimination. Overall, views were heterogeneous and often contradictory, with emphasis on harmful effects.


We found 26 diverse and opposing considerations, related to a clinical, personal, or societal context, which are relevant to diagnosing AD before dementia. The theoretical literature tended to focus on adverse impact and rely on common morality, while the motivation for and implications of biomarker testing are deeply personal. Our findings provide a starting point for clinicians to discuss biomarker-based diagnosis with their patients, which will become even more relevant in light of the conditional approval of a first disease-modifying drug for AD.

Leonie N. C. Visser, Carolina Minguillon, Gonzalo Sánchez-Benavides, Marc Abramowicz, Daniele Altomare , Karine Fauria, Giovanni B. Frisoni, Jean Georges, Federica Ribaldi, Philip Scheltens, Jetske van der Schaar, Marissa Zwan, Wiesje M. van der Flier, and José Luis Molinuevo



Growing evidence suggests dementia incidence can be reduced through prevention programs targeting risk factors. To accelerate the implementation of such prevention programs, a new generation of brain health services (BHS) is envisioned, involving risk profiling, risk communication, risk reduction, and cognitive enhancement. The
purpose of risk communication is to enable individuals at risk to make informed decisions and take action to protect themselves and is thus a crucial step in tailored prevention strategies of the dementia incidence. However, communicating about dementia risk is complex and challenging.

In this paper, we provide an overview of (i) perspectives on communicating dementia risk from an ethical, clinical, and societal viewpoint; (ii) insights gained from memory clinical practice; (iii) available evidence on the impact of disclosing APOE and Alzheimer’s disease biomarker test results gathered from clinical trials and observational
studies; (iv) the value of established registries in light of BHS; and (v) practical recommendations regarding effective strategies for communicating about dementia risk.

In addition, we identify challenges, i.e., the current lack of evidence on what to tell on an individual level—the actual risk—and on how to optimally communicate about dementia risk, especially concerning worried yet cognitively unimpaired individuals. Ideally, dementia risk communication strategies should maximize the desired
impact of risk information on individuals’ understanding of their health/disease status and risk perception and minimize potential harms. More research is thus warranted on the impact of dementia risk communication, to (1) evaluate the merits of different approaches to risk communication on outcomes in the cognitive, affective and
behavioral domains, (2) develop an evidence-based, harmonized dementia risk communication protocol, and (3) develop e-tools to support and promote adherence to this protocol in BHSs.

Based on the research reviewed, we recommend that dementia risk communication should be precise; include the use of absolute risks, visual displays, and time frames; based on a process of shared decision-making; and address the inherent uncertainty that comes with any probability.