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How often is Alzheimer's disease misdiagnosed?

Judith London, MD
Psychiatry
Alzheimer's disease frequently is misdiagnosed because the definitive diagnosis can only be made at autopsy. However, new tests that involve measuring the concentrations of substances that accompany Alzheimer's disease - beta amyloid and tau protein - found in the spinal fluid as well as in the brain - may be useful in the future. Often Alzheimer's and another dementia co-exist to make it even more difficult to diagnose accurately.
Anthony Cirillo
Geriatric Medicine
Alzheimer's disease may not be as prevalent as commonly believed. New research indicates that Alzheimer's diagnoses are often wrong.

In a research study, only about half of 211 study subjects diagnosed with Alzheimer's while alive were found, during autopsies, to have brain conditions commonly associated with the disease. While they did not have amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, most of the unconfirmed Alzheimer's patients had other brain abnormalities, such as sclerosis and generalized brain atrophy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.