Background Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteins have become accepted biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in research settings. The extent of their use, perceived utility, and influence on decision making in clinical settings, however, are less well studied. Methods Clinicians who evaluate older adults (N = 193) were randomized to view normal, borderline, AD-consistent, or no CSF information in two vignettes portraying patients with borderline and mild AD symptoms. Clinicians also reported on the use and perceived utility of CSF biomarkers. Results Although clinicians reported infrequent use and low perceived utility of CSF biomarkers, viewing AD-consistent CSF values made clinicians more likely to make an AD-related diagnosis, increased diagnostic confidence, and led clinicians to initiate treatment more often than clinicians who had no CSF information. Conclusions CSF biomarkers influence decision making depending on the extent to which biomarkers reflect AD pathology, consistency between clinical-pathologic information, and the ambiguity of protein values.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Cerebrospinal fluid