May 30, 2018 – Diagnosing Dementia


Anchor lead: What’s the best way to have dementia diagnosed? Elizabeth Tracey reports

New screening tools for dementia are being developed, with some studies suggesting that they can be used to detect Alzheimer’s disease in a primary care setting. Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says while such a strategy may work, getting a definitive answer likely requires an expert.

Lyketsos: There clearly are primary care physicians who are very good at this. For the most part primary care physicians have other priorities and so we see errors on both sides: folks who end up on quote ‘Alzheimer drugs’ when they just have a memory complaint and then we have folks with moderate dementia who’ve been missed. My advice would be if dementia is suspected, and it usually comes from a family member, for a family member to make direct contact with a primary care physician, encourage them to do an assessment and if there’s some doubt, to request a referral to a specialist.  :32

Lyketsos is hopeful that more objective tests may soon allow dementias to be identified more easily. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.