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Diagnosing early Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment: Emerging Challenges and Implications

Blur­ry line in diag­nos­ing ear­ly Alzheimer’s: study (Reuters):

  • The revised def­i­n­i­tion of a brain con­di­tion called mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment means that many peo­ple now con­sid­ered to have mild or ear­ly Alzheimer’s dis­ease could eas­i­ly be giv­en that diag­no­sis instead, sug­gests a new study.”
  • Creighton Phelps, head of the Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Cen­ters Pro­gram at the Nation­al Insti­tute on Aging, said that to a cer­tain extent, the line between mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment and ear­ly Alzheimer’s is indeed “fuzzy” and depends on a doc­tor’s indi­vid­ual judg­ment. But he added that many researchers still think there’s a point in between nor­mal think­ing and func­tion­ing and Alzheimer’s demen­tia that deserves its own cat­e­go­ry.”
  • White­house said that all of the divi­sions between nor­mal and mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment and Alzheimer’s miss the most impor­tant point: that every­one, as they age, should be tak­ing steps to main­tain their brain health. That includes keep­ing your mind and body active, eat­ing a healthy, Mediter­ranean-style diet and keep­ing engaged social­ly, he added.”

StudyRevised Cri­te­ria for Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment May Com­pro­mise the Diag­no­sis of Alzheimer Dis­ease Demen­tia (Arch Neu­rol). From the abstract:

  • Results  Almost all (99.8%) indi­vid­u­als cur­rent­ly diag­nosed with very mild AD demen­tia and the large major­i­ty (92.7%) of those diag­nosed with mild AD demen­tia could be reclas­si­fied as hav­ing MCI with the revised cri­te­ria, based on their lev­el of impair­ment in the Clin­i­cal Demen­tia Rat­ing domains for per­for­mance of instru­men­tal activ­i­ties of dai­ly liv­ing in the com­mu­ni­ty and at home. Large per­cent­ages of these indi­vid­u­als with AD demen­tia also meet the revised “func­tion­al inde­pen­dence” cri­te­ri­on for MCI as mea­sured by the Func­tion­al Assess­ment Ques­tion­naire.
  • Con­clu­sions  The cat­e­gor­i­cal dis­tinc­tion between MCI and milder stages of AD demen­tia has been com­pro­mised by the revised cri­te­ria. The result­ing diag­nos­tic over­lap sup­ports the premise that “MCI due to AD” rep­re­sents the ear­li­est symp­to­matic stage of AD.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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