New Alzheimer’s Diagnostic Guidelines

A New York Times article today is about new Alzheimer’s diagnostic guidelines, which have been in the works for awhile. One new component is that “the guidelines specify that Alzheimer’s biomarkers — including abnormal levels of the proteins amyloid and tau, and shrinkage of certain brain areas — should not yet be put into widespread use, but used only with patients enrolled in clinical trials.”

“The guidelines also clarify diagnosis criteria for people with dementia symptoms, distinguishing Alzheimer’s from other dementias, including vascular, fronto-temporal and Lewy body. And they note that the earliest symptom of Alzheimer’s dementia is not always memory loss, but could be mood changes or problems with language, spatial perception or reasoning.”

I haven’t had a chance yet to look through the new guidelines to learn about these clarifications. You can find a link to the new guidelines and an overview of them on the Alzheimer’s Association website here: … erview.asp

The article also mentions that there is legislation in Congress that would “create specific Medicare cost codes for Alzheimer’s diagnosis, including steps involving discussions between the patient’s doctor and caregivers, a recognition that keeping family members well-informed can result in better planning and care.”

Of course it would be nice to have those discussions paid for as part of a medical appointment about any disorder, not just AD.

Robin … eimer.html

Guidelines Allow Earlier Definition of Alzheimer’s
By Pam Belluck
New York Times
Published: April 19, 2011