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Concern for Employer, Insurance Discrimination for Alzheimer's Patients

TUESDAY, March 27, 2018 -- U.S. adults express concerns about discrimination by employers and insurance for patients with Alzheimer's disease dementia, according to a study published online March 27 in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Shana D. Stites, Psy.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the prevalence of beliefs, attitudes, and expectations about Alzheimer's disease dementia in a random sample of 317 adults from the U.S. public. Data were analyzed to understand reactions toward a man with mild-stage Alzheimer's disease dementia.

The researchers found that more than half of respondents expected that the person would be discriminated against by employers and would be excluded from medical decision-making (both 55.3 percent). Close to half of respondents expected that the man's health insurance would be limited based on data in the medical record, a brain imaging result, or genetic test result (46.6, 45.6, and 44.7 percent, respectively).

"Public education and policies are needed to address concerns about employment and insurance discrimination," the authors write. "Studies are needed to discover how advances in diagnosis and treatment may change Alzheimer's disease stigma."

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Posted: March 2018

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