Should older adults be screened for dementia? It is important to screen for evidence of dementia!

J. Wesson Ashford, Soo Borson, Ruth O'Hara, Paul Dash, Lori Frank, Philippe Robert, William R. Shankle, Mary C. Tierney, Henry Brodaty, Frederick A. Schmitt, Helena C. Kraemer, Herman Buschke, Howard Fillit

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

70 Scopus citations


Multiple arguments for considering routine dementia screening have been presented. Furthermore, dementia diagnoses are widely unrecognized. As a result, persons with dementia are missing important clinical care and treatment interventions. By distinction, the problems of defining, diagnosing, and treating mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are not yet resolved, and MCI is not ready for a screening recommendation. Dementia screening approaches, including cognitive testing and functional assessment, must be evaluated on their scientific merits, including sensitivity and specificity for recognizing affected individuals in at-risk populations. Screening tests must be "cost-worthy", with the benefits of true-positive test results justifying the costs of testing and resolving false-positive cases, with due consideration for proper diagnostic evaluation and potential harms. With the tremendous number of new cases projected in the near future and the expected emergence of beneficial therapies, considerably more research is needed to develop more efficient screening systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Opinions of funding organizations cannot be taken as accepted opinions of all of those funded by those organizations. Simply because a group has received funding for their research from various organizations, some of which may support or are opposed to screening, does not mean that opinions expressed by them are biased by those organizations. Similarly, opinions or implicit agendas of funding organizations associated with the A&D Consensus Group do not necessarily bias the expressed opinions.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Case-finding
  • Dementia
  • Diagnosis
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Epidemiology


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