Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Research Student: Julia Swallow

The Role of Instruments for Screening Cognitive Function and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Sociological Exploration

My thesis endeavors to explore the use in practice of instruments for screening cognitive function to assess and review initial cognitive impairment associated with age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

In what is being perceived as an ‘ageing population’, with an increase in individuals necessarily developing Alzheimer’s disease, there is increasing concern for clinicians to provide accurate and timely diagnosis. This study will thus explore the ways in which these instruments are employed by a range of healthcare practitioners and policy makers in diagnosing and managing Alzheimer’s disease, given that the results of these screening tools inform clinical practice as well as public health policy more widely. In doing so I seek to explore how, why and when health practitioners use these instruments in clinical practice;  and how results influence further diagnostic testing and treatment of patients.

I will consider the difference in how these tools as technologies are used according to the health care practitioner or setting, and how this relates to the accuracy and timeliness of the diagnosis of AD and care of patients affected by the condition. Concurrently, it is anticipated that this research will contribute more broadly to the sociological literature of medical technologies.


I am a doctoral researcher in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. Having completed an undergraduate degree in Sociology at the University of Liverpool I went on to study for a taught postgraduate degree in Social Research at the University of York.

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