Initial evaluation of the patient with suspected dementia

Alan M. Adelman, Mel P. Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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 B 12 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. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1745-1750
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican family physician
Volume71
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2005

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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