Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine have conducted the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate the pros and cons of population screening for dementia. The Indiana-based research team discovered that no actual harm, as measured by patient reported depressive and anxiety symptoms, from screening for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in diverse rural, suburban and urban primary care clinics in Indiana. This trial didn’t identify any benefit from screening in reducing emergency department visits and hospitalization or increasing advance care planning—however, it is considered a breakthrough in evidencing that screening programs don’t harm the patient.
There is a perception among the population that public screening for dementia could trigger or influence forms of depression or anxiety in patients. Dementia affects more than 5 million people in the United States alone and is frequently unrecognized and underdiagnosed in primary care settings, where most adults receive their health care. The researcher’s shared in their press release that an estimated 50% of primary care physicians are unaware of their older patients’ cognitive ...
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