Simple Way To Test Yourself For Dementia
Douglas W. Scharre, MD, associate professor of neurology and director, division of cognitive neurology, Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus. His research was published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences.
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Having trouble finding the right wordsshowing up for visits on the wrong daygetting confused while balancing a checkbook. For people who are getting on in years, such experiences can spark worries about whether cognitive skills are starting to slip.
Still, no one likes to think that dementia might be on the horizonwhich is one reason why cognitive decline often goes undiagnosed in the early stages. In fact, patients typically dont mention such problems to their doctors until three or four years after symptoms begin. Whats more, doctors themselves often fail to pick up on the early, subtle signs of dementia during routine medical examsand many doctors dont do the time-consuming tests necessary to diagnose cognitive impairment until the problem has progressed to later stages. Thats too badbecause early intervention may help delay the progression of mild cognitive impairment;and/or provide the best opportunities for patients and their loved ones to make appropriate plans for the future regarding caregiving, finances, legal matters, etc.
DIY Screening Advantage
How to Test Yourself
Types Of Tests For Dementia
The first type of tests are called mental status scales.
These are short bedside tests administered by the doctor that assess memory and other cognitive domains.
They provide a score, which is used to distinguish people with normal vs. impaired cognition and even screen for mild cognitive impairment .
Examples of the most widely used include the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and the Mini-Mental State Examination .
These are screening tests, meaning they are not diagnostic of any particular dementia or diagnosis, but when abnormal definitely can hint that cognition is impaired.
Moreover, these tests can be repeated over time to track the progression of the disease as well.
These tests assess memory, language, executive function, visuospatial skills, and attention/concentration.
The MMSE is scored on a 30 point scale. Specific items include orientation , memory , attention/concentration , language , and visuospatial function . A score of <23 is abnormal and indicates cognitive impairment.
Note: you can find only MMSE test here.
The MOCA is also scored on a 30 point scale.
It assesses delayed word recall/memory , visuospatial function , language , attention/concentration , and orientation . A score of <25 is abnormal and indicates significant cognitive impairment.
Note: you can also access MOCA test online.
Another similar test is the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination which is scored similarly.
Alternative shorter tests
Other Scans And Procedures To Diagnose Dementia
Other types of scan, such as a;SPECT scan or a PET scan, may be recommended if the result of your;MRI or;CT scan is uncertain.
However, most people will not;need these types of scans.
Both SPECT and PET;scans look at how the brain functions, and can pick up abnormalities with the blood flow in the brain.
If a specialist is worried that epilepsy may be causing the;dementia symptoms,;an EEG may be taken to record the brain’s electrical signals , but this is rare.
Page last reviewed: 3 July 2020 Next review due: 3 July 2023
Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
Some Questions You May Wish To Ask You Doctor Regarding Tests Used In Diagnosing Dementia
- What tests will be conducted?
- Who will be performing the tests and how long will it take?
- Should I prepare for the tests in any way?
- Will any of the tests involve pain or discomfort?
- Will there be any cost involved?
- What follow-up will be necessary and who will follow up?
- How will I be informed of the test results and the diagnosis?
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Managing Movement Problems In Ftd
Medications and physical and occupational therapy may provide modest relief for the movement symptoms of FTD. A doctor who specializes in these disorders can guide treatment.
For people with corticobasal syndrome, Parkinsons disease medicines may offer some temporary improvement. Physical and occupational therapy may help the person move more easily. Speech therapy can help them manage language symptoms.
For people with progressive supranuclear palsy, sometimes Parkinsons disease drugs provide temporary relief for slowness, stiffness, and balance problems. Exercises can keep the joints limber, and weighted walking aids such as a walker with sandbags over the lower front rung can help maintain balance. Speech, vision, and swallowing difficulties usually do not respond to any drug treatment. Antidepressants have shown modest success. For people with abnormal eye movements, bifocals or special glasses called prisms are sometimes prescribed.
People with FTD-ALS typically decline quickly over two to three years. During this time, physical therapy can help treat muscle symptoms, and a walker or wheelchair may be useful. Speech therapy may help a person speak more clearly at first. Later on, other ways of communicating, such as a speech synthesizer, can be used. The ALS symptoms of the disorder ultimately make it impossible to stand, walk, eat, and breathe on ones own.
Discuss Test Results With A Doctor
Dont assume that the test results are equal to a diagnosis of any kind.
The SAGE test is a screening tool that helps doctors detect early signs of cognitive impairment that are typically not noticeable during a normal office visit.
When the test is repeated over time, doctors can watch for changes in cognitive ability. Being able to measure changes helps them detect and treat health conditions early.
Thats why its important to bring the completed test to the doctor to have it reviewed. If there are signs of cognitive impairment, they may recommend further testing.
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What Is The Clock Test For Dementia
The clock test is a non-verbal screening tool that may be used as part of the assessment for dementia, Alzheimers, and other neurological problems. The clock test screens for cognitive impairment. The individual being screened is asked to draw a clock with the hour and minute hands pointing to a specific time. Research has shown that six potential errors in the clock testthe wrong time, no hands, missing numbers, number substitutions, repetition, and refusalcould be indicative of dementia.
What A Doctor May Check And Ask
Most people with suspected dementia will go to a doctors surgery to see their GP. Some doctors, however, will prefer to make a home visit to observe and assess someones behaviour in their own environment. A GP will check a persons blood pressure, temperature and pulse, listen to their heart and lungs and collect blood and urine samples for further tests to be carried out. The doctor will ask what potential signs of dementia have been noticed and when they began, how often they occur and whether they are getting worse.
The GP may ask a series of questions designed to test the persons memory and reasoning skills. The doctor is also likely to carry out a detailed review of any medication taken and ask about personal and family medical history, diet, smoking, intake of alcohol and exercise. The doctor will welcome notes perhaps kept by the patient, a partner, close family member or a care worker that outline when any symptoms or changes first happened. The GP may feel able to make a diagnosis at the conclusion of the assessment or may refer the person to a memory clinic or specialist.
Cultural diversity is an important consideration in the assessment process. Dementia assessments need to be culturally appropriate and recognise the impact of culture on individual behaviour. An interpreter may be vital for a proper assessment.
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What Is Dementia And What Causes It
Dementia is a syndrome that causes a person to develop difficulty and problems with their memory or their ability to think. Unlike the normal changes that happen in a persons memory and thinking over time, dementia affects someones ability to function in their daily life activities and their normal routine .There are different causes of dementia. These causes are typically underlying neurological conditions . One common cause of dementia is Alzheimers disease. Other causes include diseases that impact brain blood vessels. For example, strokes may cause what is commonly termed Vascular Dementia. Some causes include Lewy Body Disease and Parkinsons disease.
What If The Gp Wont Make A Referral To A Memory Service Or Clinic For A Specialist Assessment
If you are experiencing difficulty getting a diagnosis, or if you have questions you cant get answered, well take the time to really understand the problem, and give you the expert support you need to tackle it. Please call our specialist dementia Admiral Nurses on our Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email .
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Whats The Difference Between Alzheimers And Dementia
Alzheimers disease is a type of dementia. There are hundreds of different types and causes of dementia, all categorised as progressive conditions that cause damage to the brain. Alzheimers is the most common type, accounting for more than 60% of diagnoses amongst people over 65 years old. Each type of dementia has different symptoms, but they are mostly identified by changes in concentration, memory, ability to do everyday things and sometimes personality and behaviour. You can read more about the most common types of dementia, here.
Why Take The Sage Test
You may want to take SAGE if you are concerned that you might have cognitive issues. Or you may wish to have your family or friends take the test if they are having memory or thinking problems. The difficulties listed can be early signs of cognitive and brain dysfunction. While dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can lead to these symptoms, there are many other treatable disorders that also may cause these signs.
It is normal to experience some memory loss and to take longer to recall events as you age. But if the changes you are experiencing are worrying you or others around you, SAGE can be a helpful tool to assess if further evaluation is necessary.
Unfortunately, many people do not seek help for these kinds of symptoms until they have experienced them for several years. There are many treatable causes of cognitive and thinking loss, and in some cases, medications or other treatments can be very effective-especially if provided when symptoms first begin.
Remember that SAGE does not diagnose any specific condition. The results of SAGE will not tell you if you have Alzheimer’s disease, mini-strokes or any number of other disorders. But the results can help your doctor know if further evaluation is necessary.
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Difficulty Completing Normal Tasks
A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.
Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.
Who Is This Dementia Quiz For
Below is a list of 10 questions designed for people who are concerned about memory loss. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with dementia, a neurocognitive disorder, and are based on criteria in the DSM-5 .
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
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Free Ohio State Sage Tests
The Ohio State University Medical Center’s Department of Neurology has developed several free tests which you can download and use for free here Sage Test. There are several versions of this test that you can use. They are more complex than the oral tests above and might be good for someone who would resist having you test them, but might be willing to take a written test.
Preparing For A Doctor’s Visit
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What Are The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Early, accurate diagnosis is beneficial for several reasons. Beginning treatment early in the disease process may help preserve daily functioning for some time, even though the underlying Alzheimers process cannot be stopped or reversed.
Having an early diagnosis helps people with Alzheimers and their families:
How Is Dementia Diagnosed
To diagnose dementia, doctors first assess whether a person has an underlying, potentially treatable, condition that may relate to cognitive difficulties. A physical exam to measure blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as laboratory tests of blood and other fluids to check levels of various chemicals, hormones, and vitamins, can help uncover or rule out possible causes of symptoms.
A review of a persons medical and family history can provide important clues about risk for dementia. Typical questions might include asking about whether dementia runs in the family, how and when symptoms began, changes in behavior and personality, and if the person is taking certain medications that might cause or worsen symptoms.
The following procedures also may be used to diagnose dementia:
Early detection of symptoms is important, as some causes can be treated. However, in many cases, the cause of dementia is unknown and cannot be treated. Still, obtaining an early diagnosis can help with managing the condition and planning ahead.
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Some Of The Commonly Used Cognitive Tests Include:
Mini-Mental Status Examination
This test is usually conducted by your doctor or specialist in their office and takes around 5 minutes to complete. The MMSE is the most common test for the screening of dementia. It assesses skills such as reading, writing, orientation and short-term memory.
Alzheimers Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive
This 11-part test is more thorough than the MMSE and can be used for people with mild symptoms.
It is considered the best brief examination for memory and language skills.
It takes around 30 minutes and is usually conducted by a specialist in their office, or you may be referred to a psychologist for the test.
This involves a number of very sensitive tests administered by a neuropsychologist .
A typical testing session will take at least 2 hours and may be conducted over more than one visit.
A variety of tests will be used and may include tests of memory such as recall of a paragraph, tests of the ability to copy drawings or figures and tests of reasoning and comprehension.
Standard X-rays may be taken and those who smoke will commonly require a chest X-ray to rule out lung cancer, which may be causing a secondary brain tumour. \
Brain imaging techniques
Various brain-imaging techniques are sometimes used to show brain changes and to rule out other conditions such as tumour, infarcts and hydrocephalus ; these include:
What Should You Do First
Dementia is a symptom which is caused by many different things, some of which are reversible. Especially if the memory loss has occurred quickly, it is important to be screened by a doctor. It is quite possible that a medical condition like diabetes or the side-effect of a drug is causing the forgetfulness, and not Alzheimer’s. As a matter of fact, I thought my mother was developing memory problems but found out that actually was just experiencing severe hearing loss. When she got hearing aids, she was fine. So be sure to see a doctor.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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