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September 1988

The Diagnosis of Reversible Dementia in the Elderly: A Critical Review

Author Affiliations

From the Geriatrics Section (Dr Barry) and Health Care Research Unit (Dr Moskowitz), Section of General Internal Medicine, Evans Memorial Department of Clinical Research and the Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center (Drs Barry and Moskowitz). Dr Barry is now with the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(9):1914-1918. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380090016006

• Evaluation of the elderly demented patient includes a search for treatable diseases; recommendations for this approach have been based on reports of a high prevalence of "reversible" dementia in several series of patients in the medical literature. A critical review of the methodology of these reports was undertaken to determine their validity as sources for the protocols often recommended. Several methodologic flaws were found in many studies that recommended extensive "screening" of the demented elderly, limiting their usefulness as resources. More carefully designed studies are needed to understand better the frequency and etiology of reversible causes of dementia.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:1914-1918)