Cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease: clinical management and prevention

Elizabeth Joe, John M Ringman
BMJ: British Medical Journal 2019 December 6, 367: l6217
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the accumulation of amyloid β in the form of extracellular plaques and by intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, with eventual neurodegeneration and dementia. There is currently no disease-modifying treatment though several symptomatic medications exist with modest benefit on cognition. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors have a consistent benefit across all stages of dementia; their benefit in mild cognitive impairment and prodromal AD is unproven. Memantine has a smaller benefit on cognition overall which is limited to the moderate to severe stages, and the combination of a cholinesterase inhibitor and memantine may have additional efficacy. Evidence for the efficacy of vitamin E supplementation and medical foods is weak but might be considered in the context of cost, availability, and safety in individual patients. Apparently promising disease-modifying interventions, mostly addressing the amyloid cascade hypothesis of AD, have recently failed to demonstrate efficacy so novel approaches must be considered.

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