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A. Rostamzadeh, J. Stapels, A. Genske, T. Haidl, S. Jünger, M. Seves, C. Woopen, F. Jessen

J Prev Alz Dis 2020;7(1):47-55

Background: Health literacy (HL) refers to the capacity to access, understand, appraise and apply information for decision-making and acting in health-related matters. In the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), expanding technologies of early disease detection, disease course prediction and eventually personalized prevention confront individuals at-risk with increasingly complex information, which demand substantial HL skills. Here we report current findings of HL research in at-risk groups. Methods: Search strings, referring to HL, AD, amyloid and risk, were developed. A systematic review was conducted in PUBMED, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, and Web of Science to summarize the state of evidence on HL in at-risk individuals for Alzheimer’s dementia. Eligible articles needed to employ a validated tool for HL, mention the concept or one dimension (access, understand, appraise and apply information for decision-making and acting). Results: 26 quantitative and 9 qualitative studies addressing at least one dimension of HL were included. Overall, there is evidence for a wish to gain knowledge about the own brain status and risk of dementia. Psychological distress may occur and the subjective benefit-risk estimation may be modified after risk disclosure. Effects on lifestyle and planning may occur. Overall understanding and appraisal of information related to AD risk seem variable with several impacting factors. In mild cognitive impairment (MCI) basic HL skill seem to be affected by cognitive dysfunction. Conclusions: Systematic assessment of HL in at-risk population for AD is sparse. Findings indicate the paramount importance of adequate communication with persons at risk, being sensitive to individual needs and preferences. Substantial research needs were identified.

A. Rostamzadeh ; J. Stapels ; A. Genske ; T. Haidl ; S. Jünger ; M. Seves ; C. Woopen ; F. Jessen (2019): Health Literacy in Individuals at Risk for Alzheimer’s Dementia: A Systematic Review. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (JPAD).


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