ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: Family physicians play a key role in assessing and managing patients with Alzheimer's disease and in linking the families of these patients to supportive services within the community. As part of comprehensive management, the family physician may be responsible for coordinating assessments of patient function, cognition, comorbid medical conditions, disorders of mood and emotion, and caregiver status. Suggestions for easily administered and scored assessment tools are provided, and practical tips are given for supporting primary caregivers, thereby increasing efficiency and quality of care for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians must decide how to screen for depression or dementia and which patients to screen. Mental health questionnaires can be helpful. In practice-based screening, questionnaires are administered to all patients, regardless of risk status. In case-finding screening, questionnaires are administered only when depression or dementia is suspected. The 2002 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report recommends screening adults for depression to improve detection and patient outcomes but does not suggest the use of any particular screening instrument. Serial or sequential testing with the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 is a good strategy for detecting major depressive episodes in primary care settings. The Patient Health Questionnaire-2 consists of two questions that assess the presence of anhedonia and dysphoria. If a patient answers "yes" to either question, the more specific Patient Health Questionnaire-9 is administered to assess the severity of depressive symptoms and to ascertain the presence of major depressive episode. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 also can be used to monitor symptom severity and treatment response. The 2003 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report does not recommend for or against routine screening for dementia in older adults. However, the report does assert that cognitive function should be assessed when impairment is suspected. The Folstein Mini-Mental State Examination and the Functional Activities Questionnaire are suggested tools. The Clock Drawing Test also has been shown to be useful in primary care settings.
ABSTRACT: Dementia is a common disorder among older persons, and projections indicate that the number of patients with dementia in the United States will continue to grow. Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia account for the majority of cases of dementia. After a thorough history and physical examination, including a discussion with other family members, a baseline measurement of cognitive function should be obtained. The Mini-Mental State Examination is the most commonly used instrument to document cognitive impairment. Initial laboratory evaluation includes tests for thyroid-stimulating hormone and vitamin B12 levels. Structural neuroimaging with noncontrast computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging also is recommended. Other testing should be guided by the history and physical examination. Neuropsychologic testing can help determine the extent of cognitive impairment, but it is not recommended on a routine basis. Neuropsychologic testing may be most helpful in situations where screening tests are normal or equivocal, but there remains a high level of concern that the person may be cognitively impaired.
Donepezil in the Treatment of Vascular Dementia - Cochrane for Clinicians
Monitoring Therapy for Patients with Alzheimer's Disease - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
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.
ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is one of the most common forms of dementia in persons younger than 65 years. Variants include behavioral variant FTD, semantic dementia, and progressive nonfluent aphasia. Behavioral and language manifestations are core features of FTD, and patients have relatively preserved memory, which differs from Alzheimer disease. Common behavioral features include loss of insight, social inappropriateness, and emotional blunting. Common language features are loss of comprehension and object knowledge (semantic dementia), and nonfluent and hesitant speech (progressive nonfluent aphasia). Neuroimaging (magnetic resonance imaging) usually demonstrates focal atrophy in addition to excluding other etiologies. A careful history and physical examination, and judicious use of magnetic resonance imaging, can help distinguish FTD from other common forms of dementia, including Alzheimer disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and vascular dementia. Although no cure for FTD exists, symptom manage- ment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antipsychotics, and galantamine has been shown to be beneficial. Primary care physicians have a critical role in identifying patients with FTD and assembling an interdisciplinary team to care for patients with FTD, their families, and caregivers.
Evaluation of Suspected Dementia - Article
ABSTRACT: As the proportion of persons in the United States older than 65 years increases, the prevalence of dementia will increase as well. Risk factors for dementia include age, family history of dementia, apolipoprotein E4 genotype, cardiovascular comorbidities, chronic anticholinergic use, and lower educational level. Patient history, physical examination, functional assessment, cognitive testing, laboratory studies, and imaging studies are used to assess a patient with suspected dementia. A two-visit approach is time-effective for primary care physicians in a busy outpatient setting. During the first visit, the physician should administer a screening test such as the verbal fluency test, the Mini-Cognitive Assessment Instrument, or the Sweet 16. These tests have high sensitivity and specificity for detecting dementia, and can be completed in as little as 60 seconds. If the screening test result is abnormal or clinical suspicion of another disease is present, appropriate laboratory and imaging tests should be ordered, and the patient should return for additional cognitive testing. A second visit should include a Mini-Mental State Examination, Geriatric Depression Scale, and verbal fluency and clock drawing tests, if not previously completed.
Suspected Abuse in an Elderly Patient - Curbside Consultation
ABSTRACT: Although a universally accepted definition is lacking, mild traumatic brain injury and concussion are classified by transient loss of consciousness, amnesia, altered mental status, a Glasgow Coma Score of 13 to 15, and focal neurologic deficits following an acute closed head injury. Most patients recover quickly, with a predictable clinical course of recovery within the first one to two weeks following traumatic brain injury. Persistent physical, cognitive, or behavioral postconcussive symptoms may be noted in 5 to 20 percent of persons who have mild traumatic brain injury. Physical symptoms include headaches, dizziness, and nausea, and changes in coordination, balance, appetite, sleep, vision, and hearing. Cognitive and behavioral symptoms include fatigue, anxiety, depression, and irritability, and problems with memory, concentration and decision making. Women, older adults, less educated persons, and those with a previous mental health diagnosis are more likely to have persistent symptoms. The diagnostic workup for subacute to chronic mild traumatic brain injury focuses on the history and physical examination, with continuing observation for the development of red flags such as the progression of physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms, seizure, progressive vomiting, and altered mental status. Early patient and family education should include information on diagnosis and prognosis, symptoms, and further injury prevention. Symptom-specific treatment, gradual return to activity, and multidisciplinary coordination of care lead to the best outcomes. Psychiatric and medical comorbidities, psychosocial issues, and legal or compensatory incentives should be explored in patients resistant to treatment.