ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Early Diagnosis of Dementia - Article
ABSTRACT: Until recently, the most significant issue facing a family physician regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dementia was ruling out delirium and potentially treatable etiologies. However, as more treatment options become available, it will become increasingly important to diagnose dementia early. Dementia may be suspected if memory deficits are exhibited during the medical history and physical examination. Information from the patient's family members, friends and caregivers may also point to signs of dementia. Distinguishing among age-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease may be difficult and requires evaluation of cognitive and functional status. Careful medical evaluation to exclude treatable causes of cognitive impairment is important. Patients with early dementia may benefit from formal neuropsychologic testing to aid in medical and social decision-making. Follow-up by the patient's family physician is appropriate in most patients. However, a subspecialist may be helpful in the diagnosis and management of patients with dementia with an unusual presentation or following an atypical course.
Geriatric Failure to Thrive - Article
ABSTRACT: In elderly patients, failure to thrive describes a state of decline that is multifactorial and may be caused by chronic concurrent diseases and functional impairments. Manifestations of this condition include weight loss, decreased appetite, poor nutrition, and inactivity. Four syndromes are prevalent and predictive of adverse outcomes in patients with failure to thrive: impaired physical function, malnutrition, depression, and cognitive impairment. Initial assessments should include information on physical and psychologic health, functional ability, socioenvironmental factors, and nutrition. Laboratory and radiologic evaluations initially are limited to a complete blood count, chemistry panel, thyroid-stimulating hormone level, urinalysis, and other studies that are appropriate for an individual patient. A medication review should ensure that side effects or drug interactions are not a contributing factor to failure to thrive. The impact of existing chronic diseases should be assessed. Interventions should be directed toward easily treatable causes of failure to thrive, with the goal of maintaining or improving overall functional status. Physicians should recognize the diagnosis of failure to thrive as a key decision point in the care of an elderly person. The diagnosis should prompt discussion of end-of-life care options to prevent needless interventions that may prolong suffering.
ABSTRACT: As the number of drivers with cognitive impairment increases, family physicians are more likely to become involved in decisions about cessation of driving privileges in older patients. Physicians who care for cognitively impaired older adults should routinely ask about driving status. In patients who continue to drive, physicians should assess pertinent cognitive domains, determine the severity and etiology of the dementia, and screen for risky driving behaviors. Cognitive impairment detected by office-based tests may indicate that the patient is at risk of a motor vehicle crash. Referral for performance-based road testing may further clarify risk and assist in making driving recommendations. Physicians should assist families in the difficult process of driving cessation, including providing information about Web sites and other resources and clarifying the appropriate state regulations. Some states require reporting of specific medical conditions to their departments of motor vehicles.
Aerobic Activity for Cognitive Function - Cochrane for Clinicians
Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly - Editorials
Subclinical Hypothyroidism - Cochrane for Clinicians
ABSTRACT: Referring a patient to a neuropsychologist for evaluation provides a level of rigorous assessment of brain function that often cannot be obtained in other ways. The neuropsychologist integrates information from the patient’s medical history, laboratory tests, and imaging studies; an in-depth interview; collateral information from the family and other sources; and standardized assessment instruments to draw conclusions about diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy. Family physicians can use this information in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with depression, dementia, concussion, and similar conditions, as well as to address concerns about decision-making capacity. Certain assessment instruments, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination and Patient Health Questionnaire–9, are readily available and easily performed in a primary care office. Distinguishing among depression, dementia, and other conditions can be challenging, and consultation with a neuropsychologist at this level can be diagnostic and therapeutic. The neuropsychologist typically helps the patient, family, and primary care team by establishing decision-making capacity; determining driving safety; identifying traumatic brain injury deficits; distinguishing dementia from depression and other conditions; and detecting malingering. Neuropsychologists use a structured set of therapeutic activities to improve a patient’s ability to think, use judgment, and make decisions (cognitive rehabilitation). Repeat neuropsychological evaluation can be invaluable in monitoring progression and treatment effects.
Health Screening in Older Women - Article
ABSTRACT: Health screening is an important aspect of health promotion and disease prevention in women over 65 years of age. Screening efforts should address conditions that cause significant morbidity and mortality in this age group. In addition to screening for cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and cancer, primary care physicians should identify risk factors unique to an aging population. These factors include hearing and vision loss, dysmobility or functional impairment, osteoporosis, cognitive and affective disorders, urinary incontinence and domestic violence. Although screening for many conditions cannot be proved to merit an "A" recommendation (indicating conclusive proof of benefit), special attention to these factors can decrease morbidity and improve quality of life in aging women.
Cognitive Interventions for Improving Cognitive Function - Cochrane for Clinicians
Update on Subclinical Hyperthyroidism - Article
ABSTRACT: Subclinical hyperthyroidism is defined by low or undetectable serum thyroid-stimulating hormone levels, with normal free thyroxine and total or free triiodothyronine levels. It can be caused by increased endogenous production of thyroid hormone (as in Graves disease or toxic nodular goiter), administration of thyroid hormone for treatment of malignant thyroid disease, or unintentional excessive thyroid hormone therapy. The rate of progression to overt hyperthyroidism is higher in persons who have suppressed thyroid-stimulating hormone levels compared with those who have low but detectable levels. Subclinical hyperthyroidism is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation in older adults, and with decreased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women; however, the effectiveness of treatment in preventing these conditions is unknown. There is lesser-quality evidence suggesting an association between subclinical hyperthyroidism and other cardiovascular effects, including increased heart rate and left ventricular mass, and increased bone turnover markers. Possible associations between subclinical hyperthyroidism and quality of life parameters, cognition, and increased mortality rates are controversial. Prospective randomized con- trolled trials are needed to address the effects of early treatment on potential morbidities to help determine whether screening should be recommended in the asymptomatic general population.