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Last Updated: 3/27/2014  

Screening for Dementia

  • Appreciate that the incidence and prevalence of dementia rises exponentially with age.

  • Note that there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against screening for dementia in asymptomatic adults.

  • Consider a case-finding approach when there are patient complaints or concerns expressed by family or friends about a patient's altered behavior or symptoms indicative of dementia.

  • Note that currently available dementia screening tests have modest sensitivity and specificity and must be interpreted in the context of the patient's culture, education, and language, all of which influence dementia evaluation.

  • Recognize that treatment of mild-to-moderate dementia with cholinesterase inhibitors slows cognitive and global decline modestly; however, mild-to-moderate adverse effects occur in more than 20% of users.

DOI: 10.7326/s375
The information included herein should never be used as a substitute for clinical judgment and does not represent an official position of ACP.
Disclosures:
Alexandra Papaioannou, MD is a consultant for Merck Frosst, Aventis, Procter and Gamble, Eli Lilly, Novartis, received honorarium from Merck Frosst, Aventis, Procter and Gamble, Eli Lilly, Novartis, received grants from Merck Frosst, Aventis, Procter and Gamble, Eli Lilly, Novartis. Nicole Ferko, MSc has no financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, biomedical device manufacturers, or health-care related organizations. Jo-Anne Clarke, MD has no financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, biomedical device manufacturers, or health-care related organizations. Christopher Patterson, MD, FRCPC Received honorarium from Janssen-Ortho. James E. Galvin, MD, MPH is the copyright holder for the AD8 dementia screening interview and receives license fees from Novartis, Pfizer, and Eisai; and has received a grant from the NIH.
Deborah Korenstein, MD, FACP, Editor in Chief, ACP Smart Medicine, has no relationships with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. Richard B. Lynn, MD, FACP, Editor, ACP Smart Medicine, has no relationships with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients.
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