Alzheimer’s Disease in Primary Care: The Significance of Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Intervention

The field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is undergoing a profound and rapid change: clinical trials have been redesigned to focus on individuals in the earliest stages of the disease and are including more sensitive measurement tools to better capture changes in cognition and other outcomes. Trial participants undergo PET imaging for amyloid load as a hallmark for dementia, as well as genetic testing to determine likelihood of disease progression and response to therapeutic intervention. Large national and international registries have been established to capture those at risk and to follow their development of cognitive changes longitudinally. Understanding that the disease process starts at least a decade or more before the onset of symptoms has prompted the development of therapeutic interventions acting very early in the disease cascade. For all these reasons, recognizing and diagnosing AD early offers affected individuals and their caregivers the best chance for care planning, access to available symptomatic treatment and community resources, as well as involvement with clinical trials and access to new therapies when they become available. Primary care clinicians play a pivotal role in the early recognition of cognitive impairment in their patients.

Target Audience

This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of health care professionals involved in the diagnosis, treatment, or management of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.


Educational Objectives 

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be better able to do the following:

  1. Describe the neurobiology of AD and the need to intervene early in the disease cascade
  2. Summarize treatments for AD in late-stage development
  3. Communicate with patients at risk for AD and provide information about risk modification strategies, clinical trials, and registries



Lawrence Herman, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA (Moderator)
Dean, Professor and Program Director, Physician Assistant Studies
Gardner-Webb University, College of Health Sciences
Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Alireza Atri, MD, PhD
Ray Dolby Endowed Chair in Brain Health Research
Director, Research & Education
Ray Dolby Brain Health Center
California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC)
Senior Scientist, CPMC Research Institute
San Francisco, California

Visiting Scientist, Neurology
Center for Brain/Mind Medicine
Department of Neurology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

Stephen Salloway, MD, MS
Director of Neurology and of the Memory and Aging Program
Butler Hospital
Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island

Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest

It is the policy of the Elsevier Office of Continuing Medical Education that all faculty, instructors, and planners disclose real or apparent conflicts of interest relating to the topics of this educational activity. 

The faculty reported the following financial relationships or relationships to products or devices they or their spouse/life partner have with commercial interests related to the content of this CME activity:

Name of Faculty or Presenter

Relationship Identified With:

Lawrence Herman, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA

Consultant/Advisor: Novo Nordisk A/S

Speakers’ Bureau: Novo Nordisk A/S

Alireza Atri, MD, PhD

Consultant/Advisor: ALLERGAN; Biogen; Lundbeck; Merck & Co., Inc

Stephen Salloway, MD, MS

Consultant/Advisor: Biogen; Eli Lilly and Company; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd; Genentech, Inc; Merck & Co., Inc

Grant/Research Support: Avid Radiopharmaceuticals; Biogen; Eli Lilly and Company; Genentech, Inc; Merck & Co., Inc; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Non-faculty: Lyerka Miller, PhD; Sandy Breslow; Alison Kemp; Bernard M. Abrams, MD, hereby state that neither they nor their spouse/life partner have any financial relationships to products or devices with any commercial interests related to the content of this activity of any amount during the past 12 months.

Peer Review

This CME activity has been peer-reviewed by The American Journal of Medicine.

Financial Support

This activity has been supported by an independent educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc.

Provider Information

Jointly provided by the Elsevier Office of Continuing Medical Education and Miller Medical Communications, LLC. 

CME Credit (Physicians)

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Elsevier Office of Continuing Medical Education and Miller Medical Communications. The Elsevier Office of Continuing Medical Education is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Elsevier Office of Continuing Medical Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CME Inquiries/Special Needs

For all CME inquiries or special needs, please contact

Disclosure of Unlabeled Use: This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The Elsevier Office of Continuing Medical Education; Miller Medical Communications, LLC; and Merck & Co., Inc, do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.

Disclaimer: Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications on dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
  • 1.00 Non-physician
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
  • 1.00 Non-physician
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