Finding the Path in Alzheimer’s Disease by R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD
AD is a common neurodegenerative condition that results in a range of profoundly disabling cognitive, affective, and behavioral symptoms. It affects approximately 5.8 million Americans. Barring significant clinical efforts and medical breakthroughs that prevent or slow disease development, current estimates suggest that by 2050, AD will afflict 14 million patients in the United States. PCPs are on the front lines of early diagnosis of AD, yet many say they feel unprepared and their community lacks adequate specialists in this area. Signs and symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and even early AD are often conflated with normal aging, leading to late or missed diagnosis. This is compounded by the lack of a sense of urgency for early, accurate diagnosis because there are no disease-modifying therapies to treat MCI or AD. This eHealth Source activity reviews the pathophysiology of AD, early signs and symptoms, diagnosis first steps, referral patterns, more-complex diagnostic procedures, and existing nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic management strategies. Drs Cohen and Turner provide expert insight into how PCPs can tailor their practice to better care for these patients.
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