Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Dr. Richard Jimenez


Consensus is lacking on early diagnostic criteria and the exact symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). A new, in-office test may help physicians detect the early symptoms of AD, based upon new National Institute of Aging (NIA) criteria. However, a gap exists in knowledge regarding physicians' current use or intent to use the new protocols. Choreographing the descriptive AD terminology in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) is recommended. Thus, the purpose of this study was to understand possible contributing factors to physician's use or intent to use of the new NIA's diagnostic protocol. Data collected from 55 clinicians within 2 Northern California counties were analyzed using a bivariate test. The 2 dependent variables were physicians' use of, or intent to use, the NIA protocol; the 6 independent variables were number of years since graduating from medical school, area of specialty, percentage of patients over age 60 years, physician's gender, age, and knowledge about AD, as indicated by performance on the Alzheimer's Disease Knowledge Scale. The results of regression analyses indicated no statistical significant associations between the variables of interest (p = or greater than .05). This study is a first attempt at understanding physician attitudes toward, and usage patterns of, an important new in-office tool for early detection of AD. Further research using a larger sample size to increase power is needed. These findings have implications for positive social change by promoting an earlier detection of Alzheimer's disease, underscoring the need for additional training, and revising the terminology used in clinicians' desktop references.