Intended for healthcare professionals


Dementia: US recommends against screening over 65s because of insufficient evidence

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 25 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m750
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

The US Preventive Services Task Force has recommended against screening people aged over 65 for mild to moderate cognitive impairment, saying that the evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of its benefits and harms.1

This advice is line with the task force’s 2014 recommendations,2 as well as last year’s UK National Screening Committee recommendations against systematic population screening for dementia.3

Despite the lack of evidence to support screening, Medicare, the US national health insurance programme, added detection of cognitive impairment to its annual wellness visit in 20114 and has continued to back it despite the 2014 advice.2

Controversial scheme

In England, dementia screening was introduced by the back door in October 2014 after the UK National Screening Committee also advised against it. GPs were paid £55 (€66; $71) …

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