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You should have a good honours degree (2:1 or above) or masters degree or equivalent in the relevant subject area.
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Course Start: 17/11/2014
Supervisor: Dr Dong Pang
Identifying patterns in signs and symptoms preceding the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease
Background: Previous research indicates that there is a major challenge caused by the late diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), an insidious disease in the brain characterised by a cognitive and functional decline. One in four individuals in the U.K. has been diagnosed with AD. Sometimes, it takes between two to three years before a diagnosis is reached. Worldwide, 78% of individuals with AD are suggestively yet to receive a formal diagnosis. Findings from the literature regarding the late diagnosis indicates under-reporting; concealment of the symptoms due to the high cost of diagnosis; current diagnostic criteria based on biomarkers rather than observable symptoms, which are needed to support the early diagnosis; heterogeneity in presentation and confusion of the symptoms with a normal aging process. Delays in diagnosis may lead to accelerated progress of the disease, extended hospital stays, and increased mortality. There is also an adverse impact on caregivers and an associated financial burden on health and social care institutions
Aims: The aims of my research are: a) to map and appraise the quality of existing literature on the signs and symptoms preceding the diagnosis of AD, via the systematic scoping review of the literature; b) to identify patterns in recorded signs and symptoms to develop a model for the timely diagnosis of AD; c) to explore the clinicians perspectives and collect recommendations for overcoming barriers to timely detection of AD.
Method: A systematic scoping review has been undertaken, followed by a retrospective review of medical records from individuals aged 30-85 years. These records will be studied to identify patterns in the signs and symptoms, using the latent class logistic regression to predict relationships and identify patterns.
Another part of my study will explore the perspectives of GPs on the issue of late diagnosis and recommendation for overcoming barriers to timely detection will follow with a qualitative interview, using the framework analysis that assign codes to qualitative results and create topics for discussion.