New book co-edited by Harro van Lente

This month Palgrave Macmillan published the edited volume ‘Emerging Technologies for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease Innovating with Care’ in its series on Health, Technology & Society. The volume was edited by Harro van Lente, together with Marianne Boenink (Twente University) and Ellen Moors (Utrecht University).

The book “Emerging Technologies for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease Innovating with Care” explores international biomedical research and development on the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. It offers timely, multidisciplinary reflections on the social and ethical issues raised by promises of early diagnostics and asks under which conditions emerging diagnostic technologies can be considered a responsible innovation.

The initial chapters in this edited volume provide an overview and a critical discussion of recent developments in biomedical research on Alzheimer’s disease. Subsequent contributions explore the values at stake in current practices of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, both within and outside the biomedical domain. Novel diagnostic technologies for Alzheimer’s disease emerge in a complex and shifting field, full of controversies. Innovating with care requires a precise mapping of how concepts, values and responsibilities are filled in through the confrontation of practices. In doing so, the volume offers a practice-based approach of responsible innovation that is also applicable to other fields of innovation.

“This remarkable volume about technological innovation in the Alzheimer world should be read by all involved physicians, researchers, patients and their families, and the public at large. In fourteen even-handed, thought-provoking chapters that create a sum greater than their parts, the perceived consequences of a shift to an early diagnosis of AD through biomarker detection are discussed in depth. Readers learn that AD is a poorly delineated phenomenon — a multi-form syndrome in which disjunctions between assumed pathology and clinical manifestations are common. Nevertheless, “responsible innovation” can be achieved.” (Margaret Lock PhD, The Alzheimer’s Conundrum, Princeton University Press)

“This seamless set of engaging and thoughtful essays examines how and why we’ve arrived at a multi-national and multi-million dollar effort to remake Alzheimer’s disease using biomarkers, events that are part of a larger story of biomedicine’s effort to become a “precision medicine” that will categorize, explain and take care of not only the problem of older adults with cognitive impairments but the chronic diseases of aging. Readers will discover how Alzheimer’s disease, a disease we say is so common and costly, remains so elusive to measurement, coherent public policy and dignified care.” (Jason Karlawish, Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, USA)

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