Clinical Edge

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Dementia Diagnosis and Use of Specialty Care

Use of dementia special care was low among older US adults, particularly for Hispanics and Asians, and associated with more detection of etiological subtype, a new study found. Researchers quantified dementia diagnoses and subsequent health care > 5 years by etiologic subtype and physician specialty among Medicare beneficiaries with incident dementia in 2008-2009 (n=226,604 persons; 714,015 person-years). Among the findings:

  • 85% of participants were diagnosed by a nondementia specialist.
  • Use of dementia specialists within 1 year and 5 years of diagnosis was low.
  • “Unspecified” dementia diagnosis was common and higher among those diagnosed by nondementia specialists.
  • Half of diagnoses were Alzheimer’s disease.


Drabo EF, et al. Longitudinal analysis of dementia diagnosis and specialty care among racially diverse Medicare beneficiaries. [Published online ahead of print September 4, 2019]. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2019.07.005.