Navigation Links
Most neuropsychological tests don't tell Alzheimer's disease from vascular dementia
Date:7/8/2009

WASHINGTON Most of the cognitive tests that have been used to decide whether someone has Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia have not been very helpful when used alone. A new report published by the American Psychological Association concluded that when older people are confused and forgetful, doctors should base their diagnoses on many different types of information, including medical history and brain imaging.

Both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia affect learning and memory, behavior and day-to-day function. Even so, they're caused by different problems in the brain and require different medical approaches. It's important to tell them apart accurately, stresses the study in July's Neuropsychology. Valid diagnoses can help doctors treat patients more effectively, and help patients and families better understand their situations.

Jane Mathias, PhD, and Jennifer Burke, M.Psych.(Clinical), both from the University of Adelaide, analyzed 81 previously published studies that compared the cognitive testing of people diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer's (4,867) and vascular type (2,263). The average age across participants was 75.

Of the 118 different tests that were used in more than one study, Mathias and Burke found that only two were able to adequately differentiate between Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.

The Emotional Recognition Task (the ability to identify facial expressions in photographs and match emotional expressions to situations, at which people with Alzheimer's were better) and Delayed Story Recall (at which people with vascular dementia were better), were the only tests that appeared to reliably tell the two groups apart.

Even so, whether due to individual variability (people start at different baselines) or possible undiagnosed mixtures of Alzheimer's and vascular disease, there was enough overlap between the two groups to signal the need for more information. Because of these muddied waters, "The combined picture is what's important, so we need to look at how we can improve diagnosis by combining different measures," said Mathias.

Of note, many commonly used tests -- such as Digit Span (repeating a set of numbers forward, backward), verbal fluency (generating words by first letter or category, such as animals), drawing tasks and more were unable to distinguish between dementia types. "While these tests may assist in diagnosing dementia, they do not adequately discriminate between Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia," wrote the authors. Teasing apart different types of dementia is often harder than deciding whether someone is showing cognitive decline in the first place, Mathias explained.

Although the two tests that worked best would most reliably contribute to a clinical diagnosis, "All cognitive tests should be used cautiously and only in conjunction with other information (imaging, medical history) when diagnosing patients," the authors said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Public Affairs Office
public.affairs@apa.org
202-336-5700
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Selflessness, core of all major world religions, has neuropsychological connection
2. Electric shocks can cause neurologic and neuropsychological symptoms
3. Buyer Beware! Know What Youre Getting When You Buy Online Genetic Tests
4. Larger hospital units have lower miscarriage rates after invasive pregnancy tests
5. Despite More Tests, Some Arent Getting Results
6. Rare sheep could be key to better diagnostic tests in developing world, says Stanford study
7. Newer Blood Tests May Not Improve Heart Risk Assessment
8. Artificial liver for drug tests
9. Frost & Sullivan: Self-Monitoring and POC Diabetes Tests Reveal Potential for Significant Growth, Boosting the European Diabetes Diagnostics Market
10. AMP urges inclusion of molecular diagnostic tests in comparative effectiveness research
11. Legislation Will Expand Access to Life-Saving Laboratory Tests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... has recently contributed a medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town ... article spotlights the hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at Children’s National Health System ... of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Oct. 12-15. Chaired by ... Blood Disorders at Children’s National, and Stephen P. Hunger, M.D., Chief of the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Women-owned and Grand Rapids-based ... and Brightest in Wellness® by Best and Brightest. OnSite Wellness will be honored ... 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Henry Autograph Collection Hotel, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... $3,296 in property taxes a year. In some states—like New York, New Jersey, ... By contrast, many overseas retirement havens have extremely low property-tax rates, which contributes ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Farm Forward joins Bon ... leading institutions in announcing the launch of the Leadership Circle , a ... are raised for food. , Founding members of the Leadership Circle also include ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/23/2017)... 2017 Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) announced today ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the ... the treatment of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis ... are needed to further evaluate the safety of sirukumab ... "We are ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... DIEGO , Sept. 22, 2017 AVACEN ... medical device is now successfully helping those with the ... Fibromyalgia diagnosed Amanda in Essex, ... dressed and washing my hair, experiencing no sleep at ... in painful spasm… I cannot recommend [the AVACEN 100] ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ZirMed Inc ., a recognized leader in cloud-based revenue cycle ... ranked #1 by its users for the seventh consecutive year ... ZirMed was recognized as the top-ranked end-to-end revenue cycle management ... 200 beds and holds one of the longest #1 ranking ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: