USPSTF: Evidence Lacking for Cognitive Impairment Screening

Insufficient evidence to assess benefits and harms of universal screening for older adults

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has found that evidence is currently insufficient to weigh the benefits and harms of universal screening for cognitive impairment in older adults. These findings are presented in a final recommendation statement published online March 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Virginia A. Moyer, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues from the USPSTF updated the 2003 recommendation on screening for dementia. The authors reviewed the benefits, harms, sensitivity, and specificity of universal screening with formal screening instruments for cognitive impairment in community-dwelling older adults (older than 65 years) without evidence of cognitive impairment. They also assessed the benefits and harms of treatment and management options for older adults with mild cognitive impairment or early dementia and their caregivers.

The researchers concluded that the current evidence is inadequate to evaluate the benefits and harms of cognitive impairment screening (Grade I statement).

"The evidence for routine screening for individuals without symptoms is insufficient at this time," Task Force co-vice chair Al Siu, M.D., M.S.P.H., said in a statement. "However, clinicians should remain alert to early signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment and evaluate as appropriate."

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