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Is It Alzheimer Disease?


Is It Alzheimer Disease?

Topic: Geriatrics
Relevant Terms: Alzheimer Disease, Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment
Primary Audience: general practice; geriatricians; internal medicine; neurologists; primary care providers
Launch Date: 16-May-13
Credits: 0.5 AOA Category 1-B credit
Expiration Date: The accreditation for this activity has expired.
Curriculum Name: Alzheimer Disease Harmony Rounds

Learning Objectives

After completing this activity, the participant will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Use guideline criteria to differentiate Alzheimer disease from other cognitive disorders in patients with early cognitive decline
  2. Identify next steps following a diagnosis of Alzheimer disease
  3. Provide appropriate education and support to both the patient and caregiver to optimize quality of life


    Katherine E. Galluzzi, DO, CMD, FACOFP, dist.
    Professor and Chair
    Department of Geriatrics
    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Philadelphia, PA
    Stephen M. Scheinthal, DO, dFACN, DFAPA
    Associate Professor, Psychiatry
    Associate Director and Chief Geriatric Behavioral Health
    New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging
    UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine
    Stratford, NJ
    Rhonna Shatz, DO
    Director of Behavioral Neurology
    Clayton P. Alandt Chair of Behavioral Neurology
    Department of Neurology
    Henry Ford Hospital
    Detroit, MI
    Brian E. Wood, DO, FAPA
    Associate Professor and Chair
    Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
    Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Blacksburg, VA
    Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences
    University of Virginia School of Medicine
    Director, Psychiatric Education
    Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC)
    Salem, VA
    Is It Alzheimer Disease? Techniques for Early Detection
    HarmonyRounds Online Activity

    Original and last review release date: May 16, 2013
    Expiration date: May 31, 2014
    Estimated time to complete activity: 50 minutes
    Alzheimer disease (AD) is one of the greatest challenges facing our health care system. As the population of the United States ages, the impact of this disease will increase. Many individuals with AD are seen initially by primary care physicians who are key participants in developing the plan of care for these patients. The challenge in this setting is to identify patients early in the disease process, when interventions will most likely have the greatest benefit. Early identification of patients with AD facilitates timely discussions and anticipatory guidance for patients and families, so that they can to begin to formulate care plans along the spectrum of the disease.
    Criteria and diagnostic guidelines for AD were released in 2011. These criteria expand the definition of the disease to include 2 new phases of the disease: presymptomatic and mildly symptomatic, predementia. The 2011 guidelines are the first update in 27 years and reflect the current thinking that AD produces distinct and measurable changes in the brains of affected people years, perhaps decades, before memory loss and cognitive changes are noticeable. The expert panels that developed the guidelines also developed ready-to-use clinical diagnostic criteria for the phases of AD dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). These tools are intended to guide health care professionals in diagnosing patients in clinical settings such as physicians' offices. The 27-year gap between diagnostic updates suggests that physicians might be unaware of research advances, or even the updated disease guidelines, and may be relying on outdated information with respect to AD diagnosis and management. Timely dissemination of updated diagnostic criteria is essential to improving early detection of, and intervention for, patients with AD.
    This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of primary care providers, including osteopathic physicians (family practice, internal medicine, and geriatrics), public health providers, preventive medicine providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses.
    Interactive virtual grand rounds enduring material.

    The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Council on Continuing Medical Education has designated the American Osteopathic Association of Medical Informatics (AOAMI) as the accredited CME sponsor for this program. This activity has been planned and implemented through the collaboration of the American Osteopathic Association of Medical Informatics (AOAMI), the AOA, and Athena Education Group, LLC.
    The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Council on Continuing Medical Education has designated this virtual program for a maximum of 0.5 AOA Category 1-B credit. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
    • Read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures.
    • Participate in the activity.
    • Complete the post-test and activity evaluation.
    • Participants who successfully complete the evaluation and the post-test (scoring 70% or higher in a maximum of three attempts) will receive Category 1-B CME credit.
    This educational activity is supported by an independent educational grant from Pfizer, Inc.
    There are no fees for participating in this CME activity. To participate in the activity, physicians will be required to take the following steps:
    • Read the learning objectives and CME information.
    • Complete a pre-activity assessment.
    • Participate in the activity by reviewing all the content.
    • All participants who successfully complete the posttest and evaluation will receive a certificate of participation.
    • To obtain a certificate, participants must receive a score of 70% or better on the posttest.
    For information regarding the editorial content of this program, contact Walter Wachel, assistant director for special publications, at
    For questions regarding CME, please contact Annette Gippe, executive director, American Osteopathic Association of Medical Informatics, at
    It is policy at the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) for individuals who are in a position to control the content of an educational activity to disclose to the learners all relevant financial relationships that they have with any commercial interest that provides products or services that may be relevant to the content of this continuing medical education activity. For this purpose we consider relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.
    The intent of this policy is not to prevent expert faculty with relevant relationship(s) with commercial interest(s) from involvement in CME, but rather to ensure that the AOA-certified activities promote quality and safety, are effective in improving medical practice, are based on valid content, and are independent of control from commercial interests and free of commercial bias. Peer review of all content was conducted for all faculty presentations whose disclosure information provided to the AOA was found to contain relationships that created a conflict of interest relative to the topic of their presentation. In addition, all faculty were instructed to provide balanced, scientifically rigorous, and evidence-based information.

    Relevant financial relationships are those relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g. stocks, stock options, or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership, and other activities from which remuneration is received or expected.
    Katherine E. Galluzzi, DO, CMD, FACOFP, dist. reported no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity.
    Stephen M. Scheinthal, DO, dFACN, DFAPA, reported no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity.
    Rhonna Shatz, DO, reported no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity.
    Faculty Reviewer
    Brian E. Wood, DO, FAPA, reported no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity.
    American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
    The staff in the Office of CME at the AOA reported no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity. The educational content was fully peer-reviewed by physicians with expertise in Alzheimer disease who have no real or apparent conflicts of interest to report. The resulting certified activity was found by all reviewers to provide educational content that is current, evidence-based, and commercially balanced. 

    Athena Education Group, LLC
    Wendy Gloffke, PhD, reported no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity.
    Nike D. Gazonas, MS, reported no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity.
    To view the activity online you will need the following hardware/software: Personal computer or smartphone with internet access, a Web browser (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer (v7.0+), Firefox (v3.5+), Safari (v4.0+), or Mozilla (v1.4+) with Java Script enabled.
    Information presented in this activity is for continuing medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider regarding diagnosis and treatment of a specific patient's medical condition. This material is prepared based upon a review of multiple sources of information, but is not exhaustive of the subject matter. Therefore, healthcare providers should review and consider other publications and materials on the subject matter and not rely solely upon the information contained within this educational activity.
    This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the US Food and Drug Administration. The AOA and the faculty do not recommend the use of any agent outside the labeled indications. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings. Further, learners should critically evaluate the information presented and are encouraged to consult appropriate resources for any product or device mentioned in this activity.