The UK NSC recommendation on Screening for Dementia
Find general information about population health screening.
Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?
About 7 out of every 100 people over the age of 65 have dementia. If this age group was screened using current tests about 18 people would receive a positive test result, but:
• only 6 of these people would actually have dementia
• 12 people would receive a positive result when they don't have dementia
• 1 person who does have dementia would be missed and be falsely reassured
Between 7 and 17 out of every 100 people over the age of 65 demonstrate a mild cognitive impairment using current tests. But this does not always mean the person has or will develop dementia. Only about 5-10% of people with this will develop dementia each year. Because of this many people would receive positive test results when they would not actually develop dementia.
More about Dementia
Dementia is a common condition that usually affects people over the age of 65. It is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities such as memory loss, thinking speed and judgement. Most types of dementia can’t be cured, but with early detection it can be slowed down to maintain mental function.
Some frequently asked questions have been deliveloped following the 2015 UK NSC recommendations
• Alzheimer's Research UK
The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.
Recommendation Review History
In 2009 we reviewed the appraisal for screening for Alzheimer’s Disease, concluding that a systematic population screening programme is not recommended. The 2014 consultation reviews screening for all classes of dementia, which includes Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
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