Dementia in the forensic setting: Diagnoses obtained using a condensed protocol at the office of chief medical examiner, new york city

David S. Priemer, Rebecca D. Folkerth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Individuals with dementia may come to forensic autopsy, partly because of non-natural deaths (e.g. fall-related), and/or concerns of abuse/neglect. At the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (NYC OCME), brains from such cases are submitted for neurodegenerative disease (ND) work-up. Seventy-eight sequential cases were evaluated using a recently published condensed protocol for the NIA-AA guidelines for the neuropathologic assessment of Alzheimer disease (AD), a cost-cutting innovation in diagnostic neuropathology. ND was identified in 74 (94.9%) brains; the most common were AD (n = 41 [52.5%]), primary age-related tauopathy (n = 26 [33.3%]), and Lewy body disease ([LBD], n = 25 [32.1%]). Others included age-related tau astrogliopathy, hippocampal sclerosis of aging, progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, argyrophilic grain disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. 26.8% of AD cases involved a non-natural, dementia-related death, versus 40.0% for LBD. Finally, 70 (89.7%) cases had chronic cerebrovascular disease, 53 (67.9%) being moderate-to-severe. We present a diverse distribution of NDs notable for a high rate of diagnoses associated with falls (e.g. LBD), a potential difference from the hospital neuropathology experience. We also report a high burden of cerebrovascular disease in demented individuals seen at the NYC OCME. Finally, we demonstrate that the aforementioned condensed protocol is applicable for a variety of ND diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-730
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Volume80
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Condensed protocol
  • Dementia
  • Falls
  • Forensic
  • Lewy body disease
  • Neurodegenerative disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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