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AAIC 2021 | Diagnosing dementia in low educated and indigenous populations

Ricardo Nitrini, MD, FAAN, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil, discusses the evaluation of dementia in low educated and indigenous populations; a topic he presented on at the AAIC 2021 plenary session. Current standard diagnostic tests for dementia involve aspects of reading and writing. However, illiteracy remains a global problem and thus, developing optimal ways to diagnose dementia in these populations is an important issue. Prof. Nitrini outlines the figure memory test, a diagnostic tool that detects impairment in various cognitive domains in illiterate populations, while being minimally influenced by education level and age. The test assesses language abilities, verbal fluency, learning and memory, and visual constructive function. Prof. Nitrini also introduces the stick design test as an appropriate replacement for the clock drawing portion of the test which can be difficult for indigenous populations. Wider implementation and further analyses are needed for the optimization of dementia diagnosis in these populations. This interview took place during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2021.