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Cognitive Symptom Score From EHR Predicts Risk for Dementia

Symptom score derived from discharge summaries using natural language processing linked to earlier diagnosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A cognitive symptom measure identified in discharge summaries can predict the risk for dementia, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Thomas H. McCoy, Jr., M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation of cognitive symptoms, identified using a validated natural language processing tool, with incident dementia diagnosis during eight years of follow-up using electronic health records from two large academic medical centers.

The researchers found that 2.4 percent of the 267,855 hospitalized patients with 1,251,858 patient years of follow-up data received a new diagnosis of dementia. An increasing cognitive symptom score correlated with earlier dementia diagnosis in competing risk regression (hazard ratio, 1.63). In the second hospital system and in a subgroup analysis of younger and older patients, similar results were observed.

“Before formal diagnosis of dementia, symptoms documented in discharge summaries may facilitate identification of high-risk individuals in whom further evaluation or application of biomarkers may have greatest yield,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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