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Dementia screening 'flawed', study suggests

Dementia screening 'flawed', study suggests
7th November 2008

Scientists say they have found "significant weaknesses" in the most commonly-used methods of dementia screening in primary care.

The Mini Mental State Examination was found to be the most widely used measure in the Kent area – but other methods are actually more effective, according to a research team led by Dr Alisoun Milne at the University of Kent's Tizard Centre.

General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition, the Memory Impairment Screen and the Mini-Cognitive Assessment Instrument were found to be variously easier to administer and less affected by patient education, gender or ethnicity.

Dr Milne said the project had identified the three methods as being "more appropriate for routine use in primary care".

She added that the findings are important because improving dementia screening is a "distinctive and yet pivotal dimension" for reaching the "important policy goal" of providing an early diagnosis.

Meanwhile, a UK charity has called for more time to be devoted to dementia care in the training of healthcare professionals.

The Alzheimer's Society has suggested dementia care trainers should deliver sessions of evidence-based learning instead of simple awareness-raising techniques.

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