Autopsy examination of brain tissue is necessary to determine the accuracy of a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a longitudinally followed sample of individuals with probable AD. Proxy consent for autopsy is necessary for demented patients, and little is known about the variables that predict consent. To clarify this issue, the designated next-of-kin of ADRC patients (n=50) with probable/possible AD, currently residing in nursing homes, will be interviewed by telephone about their attitudes concerning autopsy. All proxies have given their verbal consent for an autopsy on the patient. Patients will be followed, and, when they die, consent for autopsy will be sought from the next-of-kin. Three months after the patient's death, the proxy will be reinterviewed by telephone about his/her reasons for granting/refusing consent for autopsy. An understanding of the variables that underlie the decisions of proxies to grant/refuse permission for autopsy will allow us to improve our methods of introducing this difficult topic to families and, ultimately, to improve our rate of autopsy.

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National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Johns Hopkins University
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