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New diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment for the practical neurologist


Four articles in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia in 2011 describe new criteria for Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to the AD pathophysiological process (MCI due to AD), as well as the underlying rationale for them. The new criteria also include preclinical AD criteria but these are intended purely for research purposes. The new criteria emphasise that the AD pathophysiological process starts years and perhaps decades before clinical symptoms, and that biomarkers can detect amyloid β deposition and the effects of neurodegeneration in the brain. The criteria are recommendations based upon consensus meetings and will require future validation. Nonetheless, the authors believe that they are immediately helpful to the practising clinician, providing more accurate and specific guidelines for the diagnosis of AD dementia and MCI due to AD. As new diagnostic tools and treatments for AD become available, diagnoses using these criteria will enable patients with AD dementia, MCI due to AD and eventually preclinical AD to receive the best possible care.

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