There is a review paper on developments in Alzheimer’s Disease by Eschweiler and colleagues titled ‘New Developments in the Diagnosis of Dementia’ freely available here. The authors have searched for papers between 2005 and 2009 on Alzheimer’s Disease. The topic is broad and produces lots of interesting insights. It would be useful to see an approach using a structured search methodology detailed in the paper for approaching the separate categories (e.g diagnosis) particularly in terms of replication. The discussion of MCI is filled with useful data that help with characterisation. There is also a consideration of practical aspects of ‘diagnostic evaulation’ where the authors generate memorable axioms such as
‘The MMSE cannot be used to diagnose MCI‘
Being a German group the authors are also familiar with a number of guidelines from the relevant German bodies and as these form part of the basis for the review they give the readers from other healthcare systems useful comparative insights. The review doesn’t focus on biomarkers for conversion from MCI to Alzheimer’s Disease that have been the focus on American research such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. However it does focus on the robust findings relating to CSF biomarkers, use of the CERAD neuropsychological battery and MRI research from other groups. The smell tests are also considered and remain curiously underutilised although having a fairly robust evidence base (although I suspect their use may be complicated by confounders outside of the research setting).
This is a fairly brief but interesting review showing that even when material is outdated (accepted for publication in 2009) the material can still be very useful particularly where it is a broad review with practical pointers.
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