Although Alzheimer’s disease and most dementia diagnoses have specific biological findings at autopsy, determination of an accurate clinical diagnosis remains a challenging endeavor. Advancements in medications and treatments heighten the sense of urgency for improving and standardizing clinical care.

The September issue of SAGE Publications’ Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology brings together some of the world’s experts to review the current and future approaches to dementia diagnosis as the American Psychiatric Association prepares for the fifth update of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V).

Many different issues in dementia and its diagnosis are discussed in the journal, including such topics as:
• The frequencies of different types of dementia (about 80% of cases are Alzheimer’s)
• The differences between normal memory impairment in an aging brain and dementia
• The agreement on the definition of dementia between the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization
• Improved assessment tools such as brain imaging and the testing of blood and spinal fluid
• Diagnosing non-cognitive symptoms, such as psychosis, depression, sleep disturbance, and agitation Genetic research and how it relates to dementias

“As new and better medications become available for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, an early and accurate diagnosis becomes increasingly important for researchers, physicians, patients and their families. This collection of articles summarizes the state-of-the-art in dementia diagnosis and points the way to a future where we might diagnose and even treat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias before classic memory symptoms are evident. This would represent a major medical advance for all of us,” states guest editor, Trey Sunderland MD, from the National Institute of Mental Health, about the special issue of Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology.

Source: SAGE Publications