Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/rs-contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
Publication Detail
Can primary care electronic health records facilitate the prediction of early cognitive decline associated with dementia: a systematic literature review
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Mackintosh M, Denaxas S, Rossor M
  • Presented date:
  • Presented at:
    Informatics for Health 2017
  • Location:
    Manchester, UK
  • Keywords:
    dementia, electronic health record, cognitive decline
  • Addresses:
    Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research
    University College London, London
    222 Euston road
    NW1 2DA
    United Kingdom
Introduction Identifying the early stages of dementia is key in care management, clinical trial recruitment and mitigating the impact of cognitive impairment. At present, cognitive tests are most commonly used to investigate early stages of dementia and are often only conducted after initial symptoms of cognitive decline have been identified. There is potential to harness routinely collected data from electronic health records (EHR) to discover markers of early-stage dementia, both in its cognitive and non-cognitive manifestations. However, the extent to which primary care EHR can facilitate earlier diagnosis of dementia has not systematically been examined. We aim to determine the extent to which EHR can be utilized to identify prodromal dementia in primary care settings through a systematic review of the literature. Method We searched electronic medical databases (including Scopus, Web of Science, OvidSP, MEDLINE and PsychINFO) for potentially relevant studies up to and including September 2016 and written in English. We used the following MeSH search terms: “dementia” (including its subtypes), “electronic health records” (variations thereof) and “primary care”. Additionally, grey literature was searched including reports released by the government, councils and relevant major UK charities. Results We identified and reviewed 31 studies. In total 35 risk factors and 147 potential markers of early cognitive decline were identified. There was considerable variability across studies as to whether markers were classed as confounders, risk factors, early markers or co-morbidities. Markers predominantly fell within cognitive, affective, motor and autonomic symptoms, prescription patterns of both dementia and non-dementia medication and health system utilization, including type of consultation, frequency of contact and duration. Three studies investigated variation in the markers’ predictive strengths at different time points during the prodromal period of dementia. In the 24 months prior to diagnosis of dementia, gait disturbances, changes in weight, number of consultations, specialty referrals and hospital admissions showed the strongest strength of association with dementia diagnosis. Number of consultations, unpredictability in consulting patterns, such as “Did not attend”, carer and social care involvement showed the strongest strength of association with dementia diagnosis during a longer prodromal period (up to 54 months). Discussion Tests which specifically investigate cognitive health, such as the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) exam, are often only conducted in the period of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) preceding dementia diagnosis, once irremediable damage has occurred. In many cases, these symptoms are conflated with normal ageing, affective disorders, or attenuated by multimorbidities, and are therefore not directly linked to dementia. These results show that there is a broad range of potential markers which could be used to better define prodromal dementia, however very little literature has been published in this area. Conclusion There is significant potential to use routinely collected data from EHR to investigate and define prodromal dementia. The use of EHR allows us to obtain a more complete understanding of early-stage dementia according to its more commonly investigated cognitive signs, as well as non-cognitive presentations. Understanding the breadth and trajectories in prodromal dementia period will be key in facilitating earlier diagnosis.
Publication data is maintained in RPS. Visit https://rps.ucl.ac.uk
 More search options
UCL Researchers
Clinical Epidemiology
Neurodegenerative Diseases
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by