Alzheimer’s Disease Patients with Psychosis Misdiagnosed at Higher Rates than Previously Thought, Study Finds

Alzheimer’s Disease Patients with Psychosis Misdiagnosed at Higher Rates than Previously Thought, Study Finds
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease who experience delusions and hallucinations are five times more likely to be misdiagnosed than Alzheimer’s patients without psychosis, new research from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, found. The study, “Determining the impact of psychosis on rates of false-positive and false-negative diagnosis in Alzheimer’s disease,” was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions. Researchers discovered that Alzheimer’s patients with psychosis were misdiagnosed with another form of dementia in 24% of all cases, compared to previous research that suggested a range of 12-23%. Of the 24% of cases, 12% were false positives and 12% were false negatives, the study showed. Psychosis is a typical symptom of other dementia types, and researchers believe that many physicians might be unaware of its link to Alzheimer’s disease. About 36% of Alzheimer’s patients are thought to have delusions and 18% have hallucinations. Delusions and hallucinations are the two most prominent symptoms of a psychosis. “Psychosis can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is a defining clinical feature in other types of dementia, including Parkinson’s disease related dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies,” said Corinne Fischer, MD, director of St. Michael’s Memory Disorders Clinic and lead author of the study. “Consequently, clinicians are more reluctant to diagnose a patient with Alzheimer’s disease when they present with delusions or hallucinations,” she added. For the study, researchers examined data on 961 people in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database. The study’s patients were treated at Alzheimer’s disease cent
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