New technologies, allies of primary care physicians for rapid dementia screening – Benin News


Alberto Freire Pérez, primary care physician and coordinator of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG) neurology working group, pointed out that primary care physicians now have time to screen patients suspected of dementia thanks to new technologies.

This is what he said during the webinar “The role of primary care in the detection of dementia”, in which the expert underlined the importance for this sector of having the appropriate tools to assess possible cognitive disorders. in order to plan medical interventions, both for prevention and treatment, as well as for the detection of geriatric problems and syndromes.

During this virtual conference, which is part of the series of conferences organized by the CEAFA “Meeting with Experts”, Dr Freire explained how the new online tests can help to carry out an initial screening for the possible presence of a deficiency. mild cognitive (MCI).

“Now, with these tools, we can do this screening in primary care, because we don’t need the time. When a patient or caregiver tells me that there are memory problems, I tell them to do this test at home and, in the meantime, I order a blood test to check if it may be due to other factors. When the patient returns to the clinic, I have the analysis and the test. This way they are directed to the second level of care with many tests carried out and a lot of advanced work,” he explained.

Among these simple tests is the “Fototest”, which consists in presenting a series of images to the patient, thus avoiding the occasions when he has problems with reading or general culture. Freire also recommends the AD8 test, which “combined with another short test is very useful for diagnosis”. This type of test can be found, for example, on the website

The expert pointed out that the role of PC doctors should be twofold: on the one hand, to assess whether cognitive functions are impaired by means of this type of test and, on the other hand, to assess how these alterations affect the activities of the everyday life.

“These tests will allow us to screen for MCI. Primary care is the ideal place because we are close to the patient and we have continuity of the disease. If we detect a DCL, we will see what happens in the whole process and how the patient evolves. We are the only ones to see the evolution of patients over time. There are many that we see from adolescence until they get married, become parents and we even see their children,” he said.

Freire, however, stressed that screening “is not the same as diagnosis”. “It only tells us that there is a likelihood of DCL, which is the prelude to Alzheimer’s-type dementia. When we have indicators of the likelihood of dementia, we need to refer the patient to the second level of care, the neurologists, so that they can perform more complex tests. Our role is to detect this probability of dementia,” he insisted.

However, Mr. Freire regrets the excessive time taken to refer patients with probable dementia to neurologists.

“There should be fast pathways to the second level of care. When we already have a well-founded suspicion of dementia and a blood test has been taken that excludes another alteration, I don’t see why we have to wait four months to be seen by a neurologist. It is a suffering that the family must wait months and months for the tests to be done and for the treatment to be given, ”she denounced.

In a similar vein, the expert argued that given the “delay in access” to neurologists, the family physician “is empowered to oversee the medications” that patients receive once they are diagnosed and treated. “At the moment we cannot prescribe it, but there is no problem in controlling or adjusting it,” he reiterated.

Finally, Freire reminds us that these memory lapses are sometimes confused with other factors, or that problems such as loneliness seriously impair them. “If you don’t talk and have no one to hang out with, the brain atrophies. Loneliness in the elderly is one of the greatest scourges of dementia,” he said.

This webinar is part of the activities included in CEAFA’s 2022 operational plan and as part of the project “Network of agents in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease”, an initiative that aims to promote awareness, information, education and awareness of society on the importance of early detection of dementia.

The ‘Meet the Experts’ initiative is developed throughout the year with various ‘webinars’ where topics of interest on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are discussed with knowledgeable speakers from member companies of the network. agents for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

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New technologies, allies of primary care physicians for rapid dementia screening – Benin News

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