Dementia Diagnosed More Often With Routine Screenings
Doctors are more likely to catch dementia earlier in older adults by performing routine cognitive screenings, a new study reveals. According to Medical News Today, a study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society found that offering brief cognitive screenings and follow-up evaluations to older veterans increased diagnoses of cognitive impairment two to three fold.
“Our study demonstrates that proactive strategies such as routine screening are well-accepted and effective in diagnosing cognitive impairment, and that primary care providers value the diagnostic and management services involved,” said study leader Riley McCarten of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System and the University of Minnesota.
McCarten’s team reached their findings by observing the effect of screening on veterans aged 70 and older who saw physicians at a VA primary care clinic in Minnesota. The veterans were aged 70 and older, and had no indication of memory loss. Those who failed the brief cognitive screen were offered a further evaluation. The majority of those offered the further screening accepted, and 93 percent were found to have cognitive impairment; 75 percent had dementia.
The findings could help influence recommendations give by the American College of Physicians and the Alzheimer’s Association, Medical News Today said. Currently, these groups discourage routine cognitive impairment screening after patients reach a certain age.
“This project has implications for strategies that seek to improve care and contain costs in dementia,” McCarten said.