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News2011March › Half of Alzheimer's patients don't have the disease › March 2011

Half of Alzheimer's patients don't have the disease

Up to half of elderly people being diagnosed with Alzheimer's don't have the disease at all - which means they are getting the wrong drugs and treatment

Up to half of elderly people being diagnosed with Alzheimer's don't have the disease at all - which means they are getting the wrong drugs and treatment.
Researchers in Hawaii uncovered this dramatic over-diagnosis when they carried out autopsies on 426 residents who had died, on average, at the age of 87. Of these, 211 had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and yet only half of those actually had the disease.
Lesions on the brain were not consistent with Alzheimer's, and yet they had been treated as though they had the disease, said researchers at the Kuakini Medical System in Honolulu.
The researchers stress that it will become increasingly important to get the diagnosis right as populations age, and more people suffer from some form of dementia - but it may well not be Alzheimer's.
(Source: Proceedings of the American Academy of Neurology, 63rd annual meeting, to be held on April 6, 2011).


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