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Aging Stereotypes Must be Taken Into Account for the Diagnosis of Prodromal and Early Alzheimer Disease

Régner, Isabelle PhD; Mazerolle, Marie PhD; Alescio-Lautier, Béatrice PhD; Clarys, David PhD; Michel, Bernard MD, PhD; Paccalin, Marc MD, PhD; Piolino, Pascale PhD; Rigalleau, François PhD; Sambuchi, Nathalie PhD; Huguet, Pascal PhD

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: January-March 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 77–79
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000129
Concepts, Conjectures, and Hypotheses in Dementia

Because of a dramatic increase of older people worldwide, screening for prodromal state of Alzheimer disease (AD) is a major societal challenge. Many individuals diagnosed with prodromal AD, do not convert to AD, some remaining stable and others reversing back to normal. We argue that an important source of this overdiagnosis comes from negative aging stereotypes (eg, the culturally shared beliefs that aging inescapably causes severe cognitive decline and diseases). Many laboratory studies show that such stereotypes impair memory performance in healthy older adults, producing inflated age differences. Research is needed to examine how aging stereotypes implicitly permeate neuropsychological testing and contribute to false positives.

Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, Marseille, France

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Isabelle Régner, PhD, Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, LPC UMR 7290, 3 Place Victor Hugo, Case D, CS 80249, 13331 Marseille Cedex 03, France (e-mail: isabelle.regner@univ-amu.fr).

Received February 26, 2015

Accepted November 2, 2015

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