The routine screening of all elderly patients for dementia would be a “disaster” as the stigma and anxiety caused by being diagnosed before symptoms appear could greatly outweigh any benefits, an expert has warned.
Screening is pointless in any case, because there is no treatment for dementia and no prospect of an imminent breakthrough, says Dr Chris Fox from the University of East Anglia’s medical school.
At present, routine screening does not take place in the UK, but some have called for it. A diagnosis can be made following cognitive tests and a brain-imaging referral.
But Dr Fox, who will speak at the TEDMED Live healthcare conference in Bristol later today, believes the risk of misdiagnosis is too high.