This edition of FP Essentials focuses on dementia. Advancing age is the primary risk factor, and as the US population ages, the number of people with dementia is expected to continue to increase, even though the incidence of dementia has been decreasing. As you will see in this edition, most of the care for patients with dementia is fully within the scope of family medicine. I found this edition of FP Essentials to be informative and useful, and I hope it helps you provide better care to your patients.
Section One describes the types of dementia, of which Alzheimer disease is the most common. Section Two addresses the approach to diagnosing dementia, including the key role of cognitive testing. Section Three focuses on dementia management. Lifestyle interventions remain a mainstay of management, despite some potential benefit from conventional pharmacotherapy (with cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine) and the controversial introduction of beta-amyloid−targeted therapies. Section Four covers strategies for helping patients with dementia and their caregivers cope with the challenges and stresses that this terminal and life-limiting diagnosis can bring.
When you have finished studying these four sections and are ready to submit your posttest answers, please take a moment to tell us what was most useful and what we can do to improve. We always look forward to hearing your ideas for topics you would like to see covered in future editions.
Karl T. Rew, MD, Associate Medical Editor
Associate Professor, Departments of Family Medicine and Urology
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor