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Potential New Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnostic Criteria Determined

November 16, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease, Cognitive Impairment, dementiaData presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 reflect a possible shift in the way physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, with hopes to eventually provide a diagnosis well before symptoms are evident. The Alzheimer’s Association wants to develop new diagnostic criteria based on the current theory that Alzheimer’s disease occurs before patients become symptomatic. Earlier detection means earlier, effective risk reduction methods and better treatment options for all patients.

The workgroups focused on three areas: Alzheimer’s disease dementia, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with Alzheimer’s disease, and pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s disease dementia group is revising the existing diagnostic criteria to include biomarkers and other assessment methods to aid diagnosis. The MCI with Alzheimer’s disease group is reviewing and refining the MCI criteria in an effort to better detect cognitive change before dementia, as well as to better differentiate between MCI and Alzheimer’s disease. The pre-clinical group is focusing on identifying the best methods of assessment to better predict a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Once the criteria are validated, they do need to be flexible enough for use by health care providers who do not have access to advanced imaging, cerebrospinal fluid measures, and neuropsychological testing. The results are only preliminary and still need to be systematically validated by incorporating the criteria into clinical trials.

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, please visit www.alz.org/icad. – Christopher Naccari

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From → Geriatrics

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