Revised Definition of Alzheimer's Disease

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

With a publication slated for the November issue of Lancet Neurology, the International Working Group for New Research for the Diagnosis of AD has updated their position paper from 2007. In the new publication, they suggest that AD should be defined as impaired episodic memory plus one bio-marker (either MRI, PET, or spinal fluid) indicating known disease pathology.

Importantly, the presence of dementia would no longer be required as part of the new definition of Alzheimer's disease. This will allow physicians to diagnose the disease and intervene with therapy at an earlier stage of symptoms.

As we have discussed here often, the current practice of late diagnosis, which is driven in many ways by the old definition requiring dementia, is a major obstacle to effective treatment.

This recommendation is in line with similar proposals from US expert panels and bodes well for future advances in this field.

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