Mind & Mood

Should you order your own Alzheimer's test?

You don't need your doctor's okay to get a new screening, but some experts say it's not ready for prime time.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

photo of a senior man sitting at his kitchen table looking at a laptop and making notes

The idea of getting Alzheimer's disease is troubling for anyone. And if you have a family history of the condition or if you've been experiencing persistent memory loss, you might wonder if it's time to seek testing. Traditionally, the process starts with a doctor visit and evaluation. However, you can now order an Alzheimer's blood screening on your own. The question is — should you?

Ordering without a doctor visit

The screening is called AD-Detect. It's available through Quest Diagnostics for $399, plus a $13 fee for physician services. Anyone 18 or older can go online and order AD-Direct, without a doctor visit, and a Quest-affiliated doctor will review the order to determine if it's medically necessary.

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About the Author

photo of Heidi Godman

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Heidi Godman is the executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter. Before coming to the Health Letter, she was an award-winning television news anchor and medical reporter for 25 years. Heidi was named a journalism fellow … See Full Bio
View all posts by Heidi Godman

About the Reviewer

photo of Anthony L. Komaroff, MD

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter

Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff is the Steven P. Simcox/Patrick A. Clifford/James H. Higby Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and editor in chief of the Harvard … See Full Bio
View all posts by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Alzheimer's Disease: A guide to diagnosis, treatment, and caregiving

Have you noticed memory problems piling up in ways that affect daily life in yourself or someone you love? Do you find yourself struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word, becoming confused in new places, or botching tasks that once came easily? More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and estimates suggest it will affect 13.8 million by 2050. Already, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. This Special Health Report, Alzheimer's Disease: A guide to coping, treatment, and caregiving, includes in-depth information on diagnosing Alzheimer’s and treating its symptoms.

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