Author(s): Lim WS, Chong MS, Sahadevan S
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Abstract Consistent with the worldwide demographic trend of population aging, dementia is expected to become a burgeoning public health problem in Asian populations. Thus, there is a pressing need for reliable and valid methods of dementia diagnosis and staging that are applicable in heterogeneous Asian populations. The Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) is an informant-based global assessment scale with established reliability and validity that has been widely utilized as a severity-ranking scale in many studies of Asian populations. From a diagnostic standpoint, the CDR is congruent with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders approach of dementia diagnosis. It exhibits excellent discriminatory ability in the very mild stages of dementia, a useful property that is germane to the surging interest in mild cognitive impairment and related concepts. Limitations of the CDR include its length of administration, reliance on clinical judgment and collateral source information, and relative insensitivity as a measure of change in interventional studies. Since the exercise of clinical judgment is inherent in scoring, CDR raters should be mindful of the influence of cultural factors on premorbid lifestyle, informant reliability and performance in certain CDR test items (especially those pertaining to the categories of judgment and problem solving, community, and home and hobbies). Thus, in future studies that involve the nascent use of the CDR in Asian populations, it is recommended that any transcultural adaptation of CDR items be described in detail and appropriate validation studies be carried out before adopting the CDR as a yardstick measure of assessment. The potential of adapted versions of the CDR in chronic care settings and advanced cases should be explored. An integrative approach, combining brief informant interview in conjunction with brief objective cognitive testing, could be a viable strategy for dementia screening in the clinical and research setting that warrants further evaluation in Asian populations.
This article was published in Clin Med Res
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism