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AAN: Dementia Frequently Diagnosed Inaccurately

Half of diagnoses made in life non-concordant with attribution based on neuropathological findings

THURSDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Inaccuracies in clinical diagnoses of dementia are common, according to research released Feb. 23 to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which will be held from April 9 to 16 in Honolulu.

Lon White, M.D., M.P.H., of the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu, and colleagues examined the correspondence of diagnoses made during life with brain lesions at autopsy for 426 brain autopsies, including 211 in decedents recognized as demented or definitely impaired during life.

The investigators found that about one-half of clinical diagnoses made during life were partly or completely non-concordant with attribution based on neuropathological findings. Diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease were relatively accurate only when considered "probable" and "pure." Clinical diagnoses of Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia were most often accurate.

"Inaccuracies in clinical diagnoses of dementia were very common, increased with advancing age, and were mostly attributable to non-recognition of mixed lesions, and to non-specificity of clinical manifestations," the authors write.

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