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CME Commentary: Alzheimer’s Disease: Implications of the Updated Diagnostic and Research Criteria

J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(9):1190-1196
10.4088/JCP.10087co1c

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of disabling cognitive impairment in older people. The diagnostic criteria for AD were developed almost 30 years ago by the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (NINCDS) and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association (ADRDA, more commonly known as the Alzheimer’s Association). The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Alzheimer’s Association recently released updated research and diagnostic criteria for AD. Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is currently revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which will include updated diagnostic criteria for neurocognitive disorders including AD. In this Commentary, the experts discuss the background of the original diagnostic criteria for AD and the rationale behind revising those criteria, including reconceptualizing the AD spectrum and using biomarkers and genetics in AD diagnoses and prognoses, as well as review the proposed DSM criteria revisions and how they relate to the new NIA/Alzheimer’s criteria.