Dementia Commonly Misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s Disease Among Elderly

According to new research, a high percentage of Alzheimer’s disease cases and other dementias that occur among the elderly are misdiagnosed, WebMD reported.

Researchers studied the brains of 426 Japanese-American men who died at an average age of 87.  Though 211 of the men had been diagnosed with dementia while they were alive – and the dementia was most commonly linked with Alzheimer’s disease – researchers found that only half of them had brain findings that matched symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Instead, most of the men diagnosed with Alzheimer’s exhibited other brain abnormalities that explained the reason for their dementia such as Lewy bodies, hippocampal sclerosis, or generalized brain atrophy.

“Diagnosing specific dementias in people who are very old is complex, but with the large increase in dementia cases expected within the next 10 years in the United Sates, it will be increasingly important to correctly recognize, diagnose, prevent and treat age-related cognitive decline,” said study researcher Lon White, MD, MPH, of the Kuakini Medical System in Honolulu.