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Editor's Correspondence
May 14, 2001

Studies on Recognition of Dementia by Primary Care Physicians Are Inconsistent

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(9):1238. doi:

We would like to make a critical comment regarding the findings of Valcour et al1 by comparing them with the literature. Valcour et al found an alarmingly low recognition rate (33%) of dementia by primary care physicians (PCPs) in consecutive elderly patients. In contrast, previous well-designed studies reported much higher recognition rates by PCPs of between 59% and 91%.24 Unjustly, Valcour et al did not mention these studies while discussing the literature. In addition, they did not discuss possible explanations for the difference found. Detection rate refers to the number of known demented patients in a PCP's practice; in contrast, recognition rate refers to the PCP's diagnostic accuracy in consecutive patients.

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