Early diagnostics and Alzheimer's disease: beyond 'cure' and 'care'

Y. Cuijpers*, H. van Lente

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research on early diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease is supported by what has been labeled as aging-and-innovation discourse, in which innovation is assumed to (partially) resolve the societal problems related to aging. This discourse draws on a specific way of understanding Alzheimer's disease and ways to deal with this condition, namely a biomedical model of Alzheimer's disease, making the socio-cultural dimensions of Alzheimer's disease and aging less visible. In this paper we further scrutinize the various meanings of this innovation by analyzing how it is intertwined with different ways to define Alzheimer's disease and strategies to deal with it. We investigate interpretative packages in two distinctly different settings: a health technology assessment (closely related to the current research on early diagnostics) and Alzheimer's Cafes (where patients and their family meet). Eleven interpretative packages summarize the scope of ongoing deliberation in these two settings. By comparing and contrasting these interpretative packages we are able to better characterize how new health technologies are accompanied with definitions of the problem and forecasts of the future. We conclude that these interpretative packages about early diagnostics are less monolithic and host a variety of different, sometimes conflicting definitions of early diagnostics, the problem of Alzheimer's disease and its multiple futures. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-67
Number of pages14
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date8 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Early diagnostics
  • Aging-and-innovation
  • Storytelling

Cite this