Evidence to back dementia screening is still lacking, committee says

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 17 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h295
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

GPs have again raised the question of why NHS England persists in promoting dementia “case finding” after the UK advisory body on screening reiterated its view that the current test for dementia was not accurate enough to recommend it for routine use.

After reviewing the evidence on screening people aged over 65 for dementia, the UK National Screening Committee concluded that none of the tests currently used in practice distinguished well enough between people with dementia and those without.1 It also said that for it to recommend screening there would need to be an effective treatment to slow or prevent the condition but that at the moment these did not exist.

The committee said that current tests showed that between seven and 17 in every 100 people over the age of 65 had mild cognitive impairment but that each year only about 5-10% of these would develop dementia. With use of current tests, …

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