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No Harm in Screening for AD Among OAs in Primary Care


December 10, 2019

Older adults screened for Alzheimer disease in primary care showed no difference afterward in health-related quality of life or symptoms of depression and anxiety compared with older adults who were not screened, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

“The benefits and harms of screening of Alzheimer disease and related dementias (ADRDs) are unknown,” wrote researchers. “This study addressed the question of whether the benefits outweigh the harms of screening for ADRDs among older adults in primary care.” 

The study included 4005 adults age 65 and older in urban, suburban, and rural primary care sites in Indiana. Researchers randomized 2008 participants to ADRD screening, and 1997 served as control subjects. The average age of participants was 74. 

The investigation found no differences in health-related quality of life between participants in the ADRD screening group and those in the control group 12 months later.

Depressive and anxiety symptoms were also similar between the groups. 

“We found no harm from screening measured by symptoms of depression or anxiety,” researchers wrote. “Missing data, low rates of dementia detection, and high rate of refusal for follow‐up diagnostic assessments after a positive screen may explain these findings.” 

Jolynn Tumolo

Reference

Fowler NR, Perkins AJ, Gao S, Sachs GA, Boustani MA. Risks and benefits of screening for dementia in primary care: the Indiana University Cognitive Health Outcomes Investigation of the Comparative Effectiveness of Dementia Screening (IU CHOICE) Trial [published online ahead of print December 2, 2019]. J Am Geriatr Soc. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16247

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