I have been working with individuals or families seeking solutions to their questions regarding assisted living for almost six years now and have assisted nearly 600 cases. One thing I have noticed is that the majority of my clients are dealing with some level of cognitive decline. One of the questions I always ask is “Has there been a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.” Many do not understand that there is a difference between types/causes of dementia. I find this very interesting! I would like to share a resource here in my home state of Arizona that would be a valuable organization for any local family dealing with Alzheimer’s. While the organization is geared towards those afflicted with Alzheimer’s, I believe it could be of benefit for those who are dealing with other types of dementia. That organization is The Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter. Their website is http://www.alzdsw.org/. They offer many interesting articles and resources and I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter. Below is a recent article from the Connections Newsletter:
New Guidelines for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s
New criteria and guidelines published
Two years ago over 40 researchers and clinicians around the globe began work to update the guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. By incorporating research advances made over the last three decades they have released the first new criteria & guidelines to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in 27 years.
These new guidelines update, refine and broaden the widely used guidelines originally published in 1984 by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute of Neurological and Communication Disorders and Stroke.
Two of the key points to the new guidelines are:
· Refinement of the guidelines for diagnosing mild cognitive impairment or MCI. Patients with MCI experience a decline in memory, reasoning or visual perception that while noticeable and measurable is not severe enough to be diagnosed as Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Researchers now believe that everyone who develops Alzheimer’s goes through this stage of impairment, even if it is undiagnosed in most people. However not everyone who suffers from MCI will develop Alzheimer’s disease. The new guidelines designate the minimal impairment that precedes Alzheimer’s as “MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease” and defines four levels of certainty for arriving at this diagnosis.
· The new guidelines propose that Alzheimer’s begins with a long period during which changes are happening in the brain while patients may have no outward symptoms. This stage of the disease is defined as a “preclinical” stage that could eventually be diagnosed with the use of biomarkers. A biomarker is something in the body that you can measure that reliably indicates the presence or absence of disease, or the risk of later developing a disease. Biomarkers used to indicate the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease so far are brain imaging and spinal fluid chemistry. Biomarkers of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease are still being validated so they are not currently being used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. A research agenda has been proposed to validate the application of biomarkers.
To view the new guidelines and criteria for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease please visit our website here.
For information on how you can participate in Alzheimer’s research studies please visit our TrialMatch page here, or call 1-800-272-3900.