The need for a consensus in the use of assessment tools for Alzheimer's disease: the Feasibility Study (assessment tools for dementia in Alzheimer Centres across Europe), a European Alzheimer's Disease Consortium's (EADC) survey.Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2005 Aug; 20(8):744-8.IJ
To ensure that all Alzheimer centres across Europe are capable of using a similar method of data collection. Information about the patient assessment tools used by each participating centre was obtained and normal clinical practice in each EADC centre was documented by collecting data from routine new patient consultation.
Twenty new consecutive patients with objective memory impairment were recruited in each Alzheimer centre over 6 months. Each patient consultation was carried out according to routine clinical practice. Patient data were recorded using the anonymous patient protocol (demographic, diagnosis, MMSE score, patient assessment scales, and most prominent behavioural problem). Information about neuropsychological assessment tools used in each centre was take to account to harmonise research practice for future multicentre collaboration.
Seven hundred and four patients from 36 memory clinics in 13 countries across Europe participated in the study. [M:F ratio 0.67. Mean age 75.4 SD 9.3 (51-102) Mean MMSE 21 SD 6 (0-30)] Five hundred and fifty-five patients had a clinical diagnosis of dementia [Alzheimer's disease (68.5%), vascular dementia (10.3%), frontal lobe dementia (5.6%), Lewy body dementia (4.1%), mixed dementia (5.6%)]. Duration of symptoms: 0-6 months 6.5%; 6-12 months 16.1%; 1-2 years 30.5%; 2-5 years 46.9%. Assessment scales used: Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) 48.9%, Reisberg's Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) 38.6%, ADL/IADL (Lawton and Brody, 1969) 37.5%, Neuropsychological Inventory (NPI) 28.6%, Geriatric Depression Scale 22%, ADL (Katz et al., 1963) 19.2%, ADAS-Cog 14.9%, Cornell Scale for Depression 12.9%, Grober and Bushke Selective Reminding Test 11.5%, ADCS/ADL 7.7%. 64.8% of the patients experienced behavioural symptoms: apathy 13.6%; anxiety 12.8%; dysphoria 9.9%; irritability 7.8%; agitation 5.5%; hallucinations 3.6%; delusions 3.6%, sleep disorder 2.4%; desinhibition 2%.
The most common type of cognitive decline was Alzheimer's disease followed by mild cognitive impairment and vascular dementia. CDR, GDS Reisberg, and ADL/IADL were used widely (40-50%). The NPI, geriatric depression scale and ADL (Katz, 1963) were only used in 20% of the centres. We verified large differences in the tools use in the EADC centres to evaluate patients with dementia across Europe. There is a need for a consensus in the use of assessment tools for dementia in Alzheimer's centres in Europe.