Diagnostic pathway for patients with cognitive impairment

Study finds that cognitive impairment is commonly not diagnosed at the earliest stages of the disease and efforts should be made towards public awareness and earlier disease detection and intervention |  Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease | Centre for Dementia Prevention



To ensure that patients with dementia and their caregivers receive appropriate treatment and support, early diagnosis is essential but remains challenging.

Real-world data from a multi-national, cross-sectional survey of physicians and their patients were analyzed to quantify the diagnostic pathway for dementia, including a focus on severity of patients’ cognitive impairment (CI) at the time of symptom onset, referral and subsequent diagnosis.

Data were collected for 7,620 patients with CI. Most patients saw a healthcare professional within 1 year of first symptoms and received a diagnosis within 3–7 months of initial consultation.  However, only 20% of patients received a diagnosis before their disease progressed beyond the prodromal stage and 23.5% already had moderate CI at diagnosis.

These findings show that the goal of identifying and diagnosing CI at the earliest stages of disease is, for many patients, not achieved. Efforts toward public awareness and proactive, earlier detection and intervention, must be maintained—indeed where possible invigorated.

More detail at Centre for Dementia Prevention

Full reference: Ritchie, C et al. | Quantifying the Diagnostic Pathway for Patients with Cognitive Impairment: Real-World Data from Seven European and North American CountriesJournal of Alzheimer’s Disease |  2018 vol. 62, no. 1 |  pp. 457-466

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