Stepwise Approach Effective for Primary Care Dementia Screening

A female g.p. is updating her senior patients medical details
Stepwise screening starts with a single question on subjective memory loss.

HealthDay News — Assessment of dementia risk using 3 common screening tools at baseline predicts incident dementia over the course of approximately 7 years, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Lennard L. van Wanrooij, from the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues used data from 3454 community-dwelling older persons who participated in the 6- to 8-year Prevention of Dementia by Intensive Vascular Care trial to evaluate the associations between incident dementia, responses to a single question regarding subjective memory complaints, and combined scores on 2 simple memory tests.

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The researchers found that subjective memory complaints alone were associated with future dementia (hazard ratio, 3.01), as were the Mini-Mental State Examination delayed recall item (MMSE-5; hazard ratio, 2.14) and the Visual Association Test (VAT; hazard ratio, 3.19) scores. During a median follow-up of 6.7 years, incident dementia ranged from 4% to 30% among persons with subjective memory complaintss, depending on MMSE-5 and VAT scores. In patients with subjective memory complaints, the strength of the association between future dementia and an imperfect MMSE-5 score largely depended on the VAT score.

“Assessing [subjective memory complaints] in combination with the MMSE delayed recall item and the VAT appears to be a promising way to assess dementia risk in primary care,” the authors write.

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