The authors of this review speculate whether a proportion of persons receiving referrals to memory clinics may not have dementia (or perhaps not even pre-clinical neurodegenerative disease at all); this category of patients may instead have functional disorders of memory.
“Schmidtke and Metternich proposed criteria for ‘functional memory disorder’ (FMD), a potentially reversible memory complaint thought to be secondary to psychological or emotional factors in the absence of major psychiatric disorder. Aetiological factors include overwork, interpersonal conflict, somatic illness, adjustment disorder, dysthymia, and ‘Alzheimer phobia’”. p.e123
They go on to identify certain patterns of communication / conversational profiles which might help to differentiate between patients with dementia and those with functional disorders of memory.
Bailey, C. Poole, N. [and] Blackburn, DJ. (2018). Identifying patterns of communication in patients attending memory clinics: a systematic review of observations and signs with potential diagnostic utility. British Journal of General Practice. February 2018; 68(667): e123-e138.