Dementia Study: Many Taking Alzheimer’s Drugs May Not Have Disease

Interim study findings show a significant portion of people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia taking medication for Alzheimer’s may not actually have the disease, the Washington Post reports.

Presented Wednesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London, the results come from a four-year study testing over 18,000 Medicare beneficiaries to see if their brains contain the amyloid plaques that are one of the two hallmarks of the disease.

According to the preliminary findings, among 4,000 people tested so far in the Imaging Dementia-Evidence for Amyloid Scanning study, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found just 54.3 percent of MCI patients and 70.5 percent of dementia patients had the plaques.

A positive amyloid test doesn’t mean someone has Alzheimer’s, but its presence precedes the disease and increases the risk of progression. A negative test definitively means a person does not have it.

“If someone had a…



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