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About 1 in 5 Alzheimer’s patients don’t have the disease

Aug 2, 2016 | Failure to Diagnose

Many New York residents who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may not actually have the disease, according to studies by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the Keenan Research Center for Biomedical Science at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. About 20 percent of Alzheimer’s diagnoses are incorrect, and patients who have been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may actually have conditions like dementia and brain atrophy.

Alzheimer’s disease cannot be diagnosed definitively because the diagnosis is based on symptoms. No blood or imaging test currently exists to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease early on may benefit from drugs that can delay the disease’s progress, but there is no effective treatment or cure for the degenerative brain disease.

To find the misdiagnosis rate for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers analyzed the brains of people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease while they were alive. Researchers also looked at clinical diagnoses and compared them to autopsy diagnoses. A senior researcher from one of the studies said that the discrepancy between clinical diagnosis and pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is around 20 percent, and about 78 percent of patients who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease while they were alive had the diagnosis confirmed when they were autopsied after death.

People who have been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease could miss out on receiving treatment for the condition that they actually have. A misdiagnosed patient may also experience a great deal of emotional distress as well. An attorney may be able to help such a patient pursue financial compensation for the doctor misdiagnosis.