Commentator Susan Peschin cites a recent statement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that highlights the insufficient evidence around screening for cognitive impairment in older adults, characterizing it as "masking" obstacles to detecting Alzheimer's disease ("Alzheimer's again gets the short shrift," April 14).
However, as chairman of the USPSTF I would like to clarify that the task force recognizes the seriousness of this devastating disease and its impact on millions of older Americans and their loved ones. That is why we agree that meaningful action must be taken.
In fact, in our 2013 Report to Congress we put screening for cognitive impairment at the top of our list of "High-Priority Evidence Gaps."
As the author pointed out, improvements in cognitive screening techniques have been achieved in the last decade. However, more evidence is needed.
A key step toward tackling this growing problem will be developing new research on interventions after the detection of mild to moderate dementia that truly help older adults live longer and better lives. This will enable their families and doctors to make better decisions about health care and to plan for the future.
Michael LeFevre, Columbia, Mo.
The writer is chair of the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force.
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