3 years ago

Expectant futures and an early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: Knowing and its consequences

Efforts to diagnose Alzheimer's disease (AD) at earlier stages as a means to managing the risks of an ageing population, dominate scientific research and healthcare policy in the UK. It is anticipated that early diagnosis will maximise treatment options and enable patients to 'prepare for their future' in terms of care. Drawing on qualitative data gathered across an out-patient memory service and in-patient hospital in the UK, the purpose of this paper is to examine the ways in which the hopeful promissory claims of early diagnosis as it maintains the dominant biomedical model for managing AD, are negotiated by healthcare practitioners. Developing the analytical standpoint of the sociology of expectations, this paper demonstrates that early diagnosis has the potential to ‘close off’ hopeful promissory visions of the future in two ways. Firstly, it (re)produces the fearful anticipations of AD built around expectations concerning the ageing future ‘self’, and secondly it produces uncertainty in terms of the availability of care as material resource. Whilst practitioners account for the uncertainties and anxieties it produces for patients and their families, they also convey a sense of ambivalence concerning early diagnosis. This article captures the internal conflicts and contradictions inherent to practitioners' perspectives regarding the repercussions of early diagnosis and concludes by arguing that it effaces the uncertainties and anxieties that it produces in practice as it restricts the co-existence of narratives for making sense of memory loss beyond ‘loss of self’, and fails to recognise care as a viable alternative for managing AD.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0277953617303118

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.