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AAIC 2023 | Recognizing and managing pain in the context of cognitive impairment

Christina Jensen-Dahm, MD, PhD, Danish Dementia Research Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, discusses the challenges surrounding the recognition and management of pain in Alzheimer’s disease. Pain can often be difficult to diagnose and treat given its subjectivity, but this is heightened in dementia where patients can often lose their ability to express their pain. Patients may show aggression or agitation in response to their pain, which can be difficult to interpret. Additionally, common side effects of pain medication, such as sedation and confusion, can worsen cognitive impairment in these patients. Ongoing work is looking to develop reliable pain assessment tools tailored towards individuals with cognitive impairment, as well as to elucidate alterations in processing pathways and perception that may contribute to pain experience and expression in dementia. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC) 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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