Scientific publications

Medical help-seeking intentions among patients with early Alzheimer's disease

Dec 19, 2023 | Magazine: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Alberto Villarejo-Galende  1 , Elena García-Arcelay  2 , Gerard Piñol-Ripoll  3 , Antonio Del Olmo-Rodríguez  4 , Félix Viñuela  5 , Mercè Boada  6 , Emilio Franco-Macías  7 , Almudena Ibañez de la Peña  8 , Mario Riverol  9 , Albert Puig-Pijoan  10 , Pedro Abizanda-Soler  11 , Rafael Arroyo  12 , Miquel Baquero-Toledo  13 , Inmaculada Feria-Vilar  14 , Mircea Balasa  15 , Ángel Berbel  16 , Eloy Rodríguez-Rodríguez  17 , Alba Vieira-Campos  18 , Guillermo Garcia-Ribas  19 , Silvia Rodrigo-Herrero  20 , Alberto Lleó  21 , Jorge Maurino  2

Background: Limited information is available on the active process of seeking medical help in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) at early stages. The aim of this study was to assess the phenomenon of medical help-seeking in early AD and to identify associated factors.

Methods: A multicenter, non-interventional study was conducted including patients of 50-90 years of age with prodromal or mild AD (National Institute on Aging/Alzheimer's Association criteria), a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score ≥ 22, and a Clinical Dementia Rating-Global score (CDR-GS) of 0.5-1.0. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted.

Results: A total of 149 patients were included. Mean age (SD) was 72.3 (7.0) years, 50.3% were female, and 87.2% had a CDR-GS score of 0.5. Mean disease duration was 1.4 (1.8) years. Ninety-four (63.1%) patients sought medical help, mostly from neurologists. Patients with help-seeking intentions were mostly female (60.6%) with a CDR-GS score of 0.5 (91.5%) and had a greater awareness of diagnosis, poorer quality of life, more depressive symptoms, and a more severe perception of their condition than their counterparts. Lack of help-seeking intentions was associated with male sex (p = 0.003), fewer years of education (p = 0.005), a low awareness of diagnosis (p = 0.005), and a low emotional consequence of the condition (p = 0.016).

Conclusion: Understanding the phenomenon of active medical help-seeking may facilitate the design of specific strategies to improve the detection of cognitive impairment, especially in patients with a lower level of educational attainment and poor awareness of their condition.

CITATION  Front Psychiatry. 2023 Dec 19:14:1290002.  doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1290002

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