Monday, March 17, 2014
The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) is a great resource for comparative research, capturing a wide range of articles and projects in Europe, as well as the latest research grants in the north and south of Ireland.
In one of the recent reports linked by CARDI, "A National Survey of Memory Clinics in the Republic of Ireland," researchers are critical of the lack of clear standards for diagnosis, treatment and collection of data on dementia, and point to potential weaknesses observed in a national system of Memory Clinics (MCs) in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), noting the potential for such problems to exist on a broader basis:
"Although this is an Irish-based study, our findings raise several important questions pertinent to many countries around the world currently developing and expanding diagnostic and postdiagnostic services to address the challenge of dementia. First, what type of specialist services do MCs offer and what are their core aims and objectives? Are MCs concerned with offering a more correct diagnosis than what might otherwise be available through generalist services? Are they committed to providing earlier diagnoses and interventions in more unusual cases (including memory problems that are reversible) and if this is the case, is a waiting time of up to four months acceptable? In the ROI, GPs [general practitioners] are permitted to initiate cholinesterase inhibitors for patients diagnosed with dementia, but would it be preferable if the prescription of such drugs was confined to MCs or other specialists involved in dementia diagnosis? What role do MCs play with respect to the education and training of primary care and other allied health professionals? Should this role be confined to only the larger longer established clinics that become Centers of Excellence and review only few and very rare cases?"
Do we have any systemic approach to diagnosis, treatment and data collection on dementia in the United States?