Dementia: Diagnosis and Evaluation

Kevin C. Fleming, Andrea C. Adams, Ronald C. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


To describe an approach to the diagnosis of dementia based on effective assessment methods. We reviewed the literature and summarized the available diagnostic and prognostic studies of dementia that may be useful to the primary-care physician. Although controversy exists about certain aspects of the diagnostic workup, exclusion of potentially reversible causes of dementia is essential. Laboratory studies (for example, for detection of underlying metabolic abnormalities) and nenroimaging of the brain may be useful. The pattern of onset and the temporal course of the disease may suggest a cause and help direct the investigation. Functional losses can substantially impair the patient's ability to live independently. Dementia can be mistakenly considered as part of the normal aging process, and diagnosis necessitates a thorough, although not exhaustive, approach. Early identification of dementing illnesses improves the outcome for reversible disease and may also enhance the management of incurable dementias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1107
Number of pages15
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • AD
  • ADLs
  • AIDS
  • APOE
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • CT
  • DSM-IV
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition
  • EEG
  • EPS
  • HIV
  • MMSE
  • MRI
  • Mini-Mental State Examination
  • NPH
  • National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • activities of daily living
  • apolipoprotein E gene
  • computed tomography
  • electroencephalography
  • extrapyramidal symptoms
  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • normalpressure hydrocephalus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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