With conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease on the rise, providing in-store cognitive screening can fulfill an unmet need and could be an opportunity for pharmacies to advance their self-care initiatives, according to experts in the area.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.7 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, with projections estimating that it will affect 14 million Americans by 2050. However, while there are screenings to indicate precursors of such chronic diseases as diabetes, there currently is no standard of care for screening or testing of cognitive decline — which presents an opportunity for retail pharmacy, according to Kristin DiProsa, vice president of marketing at Cognivue, which developed the world’s first Food and Drug Administration-cleared computerized test for assessing cognitive function.
“There is an opportunity for retail pharmacists to take the lead in testing for early cognitive decline — in particular testing when it matters most, when a patient can take action to modify underlying risk factors,” DiProsa said. “Pharmacists already interact with those who would benefit most from a cognitive screening. The proactive management of modifiable risk factors can delay or slow the onset or progression of the cognitive decline. These risk factors include diabetes, obesity, heart health, vision or hearing loss, sleep disorders, and drug interaction/dosage or a vitamin B12 deficiency.”
Cognitive testing also is an opportunity to capture the attention of the more than 40 million Americans who act as caregivers to family members who have concerns over memory loss and associated chronic conditions.
“As retail pharmacy clinical services continue to evolve, cognitive screening can play an integral role in identifying individuals who will benefit most from early detection so they can make lifestyle modifications to lead healthier, better lives,” DiProsa said.