Neuropsychological consultation to geriatricians

Issues in the assessment of memory complaints

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Complaints of memory difficulty frequently prompt referral of older medical patients for neuropsychological evaluation. Such complaints are common among older individuals creating problems in differentiating normal aging from pathological processes. Available research indicates that difficulty in distinguishing between dementia and depression, as a cause of memory impairment in older age, is the largest source of diagnostic error. This paper reviews evidence concerning factors which contribute to this diagnostic difficulty. These include: normal age-related changes in cognitive functioning, cognitive deficits accompanying depression, partial overlap between the signs and symptoms of depression and dementing illnesses, and the occurrence of depression in dementia patients. Recommendations are made, based upon empirical studies and clinical observation, for both the appropriate selection of assessment instruments and attention to clinical features which can assist in differentiating dementia from pseudodementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
Volume1
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

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Referral and Consultation
Depression
Dementia
Factitious Disorders
Pathologic Processes
Diagnostic Errors
Signs and Symptoms
Observation
Geriatricians
Complaints
Research
Diagnostics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "Complaints of memory difficulty frequently prompt referral of older medical patients for neuropsychological evaluation. Such complaints are common among older individuals creating problems in differentiating normal aging from pathological processes. Available research indicates that difficulty in distinguishing between dementia and depression, as a cause of memory impairment in older age, is the largest source of diagnostic error. This paper reviews evidence concerning factors which contribute to this diagnostic difficulty. These include: normal age-related changes in cognitive functioning, cognitive deficits accompanying depression, partial overlap between the signs and symptoms of depression and dementing illnesses, and the occurrence of depression in dementia patients. Recommendations are made, based upon empirical studies and clinical observation, for both the appropriate selection of assessment instruments and attention to clinical features which can assist in differentiating dementia from pseudodementia.",
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AB - Complaints of memory difficulty frequently prompt referral of older medical patients for neuropsychological evaluation. Such complaints are common among older individuals creating problems in differentiating normal aging from pathological processes. Available research indicates that difficulty in distinguishing between dementia and depression, as a cause of memory impairment in older age, is the largest source of diagnostic error. This paper reviews evidence concerning factors which contribute to this diagnostic difficulty. These include: normal age-related changes in cognitive functioning, cognitive deficits accompanying depression, partial overlap between the signs and symptoms of depression and dementing illnesses, and the occurrence of depression in dementia patients. Recommendations are made, based upon empirical studies and clinical observation, for both the appropriate selection of assessment instruments and attention to clinical features which can assist in differentiating dementia from pseudodementia.

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