James Hendrix, PhD: First Practice Guidelines for Clinical Evaluation of Alzheimer Disease Released

July 23, 2018

These guidelines will provide primary clinicians and the specialist community an important new tool to more accurately diagnose patients.

"These are broader guidelines that really for the first time capture the full range from primary care through the specialist community."

James Hendrix, PhD, Director of Global Science Initiatives of the Alzheimer’s Association, sat down with NeurologyLive at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss the new recommendations that a workgroup convened by the Alzheimer’s Association developed for physicians and nurse practitioners for clinical evaluation of Alzheimer Disease.

Until now, there have been no US national consensus best clinical practice guidelines that provided integrated multispecialty recommendations for clinical evaluation of cognitive behavioral syndromes, Alzheimer disease and related dementias relevant to a broad spectrum of health care providers.

These guidelines encompass broad areas of care that range from enhancing efforts to recognize and evaluate symptoms to compassionately communicating with and supporting affected individuals and caregivers.

Hendrix adds that some of the guidelines are general and geared toward primary care, while some are for specialists, but a majority focus on informing the patient and caregiver, which makes for good clinical practice communication.

The guidelines which include 20 consensus recommendations include 16 “A” recommendations that must be done and that, in almost all circumstances, adhering to the recommendations will improve outcomes. The recommendations describe a multi-tiered approach to selection of assessment and tests tailored to each patient.

Additionally, the recommendations state that evaluations of possible cognitive behavior syndromes should almost always involve a care partner in addition to the patient and clinician. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages early diagnosis in order to provide those with Alzheimer to participate in decisions about care, current and future plans, and financial and legal planning.

The guidelines, previewed at AAIC, continue to be developed with input from key opinion leaders in the field and aimed to be published in full late 2018.