Clinical Case Database / Category: Patient Management

Diagnosing dementia in primary care

Publication details

Claire Howes MbChb Bsc MRCP, Oliver Corrado MBBs, FRCP (Lond)
Foundation Years Journal, volume 5, issue 6, p.36 (123Doc Education, London, July 2011)


Dementia represents a big diagnostic challenge for primary care health professionals as it is often insidious in onset and can present with varied symptoms and signs. The cost of care for people with dementia in the UK is greater than the combined annual expenditure on heart disease, stroke and cancer, combined. An early diagnosis of dementia is crucial as this enables patients and their families to seek early and appropriate support from medical and psycho-social services, significantly improving morale and delaying the need for 24 hour care (1).

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Claire Howes MbChb Bsc MRCP

Harrogate Hospital

Oliver Corrado MBBs, FRCP (Lond)

Consultant Physician
Department of Medicine for the Elderly Leeds General
Infirmary and Director of the West Yorkshire Foundation School


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2. Eccles M, Clarke J, Livingstone M, Freemantle N, Mason J. North of England evidence based guidelines development project: guideline for the primary care management of dementia. British Medical Journal 1998; 317:802-808.
3. Gifford DR, Cummings JL. Evaluating dementia screening test. Methodologic standards to rate their performance. Neurology 1999; 52:224-7.
4. McDowell I, Kristjansson B, Hill GB, Hebert R. Community screening for dementia: the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) and Modified Mini-Mental State Exam (3MS) compared. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 1997;50:377e83.
5. NICE guideline 42. Dementia: supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care. November 2006.
6. Schneider LS, Dagerman KS, Insel P. Risk of death with atypical antipsychotic drug treatment for dementia. The Journal of the American Medical Association 2005; 15:1934-43.


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T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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