Assessment By A Specialist
Assessment for dementia by a specialist can be a confusing and daunting prospect. Many memory services offer pre-diagnostic counselling. This is a chance for you to talk things over with a health professional before your assessment. You can choose to have somebody you trust such as a partner, friend or family member with you for this.
The discussion can be an opportunity to share what you already know about dementia, express your wishes and raise any concerns you have about the assessment process. However, if you do not receive counselling before your assessment, you can still ask questions at any time during the assessment process. Having counselling, or asking questions at another point, can help you to:
- understand the reasons why you have been referred
- learn more about the assessment process
- give consent to go ahead with the assessment
- prepare for the possibility of receiving a diagnosis.
You may be asked if you want to know your diagnosis at the end of the assessment process. If you don’t want to find out your diagnosis, the specialist can discuss this with someone you trust instead of with you directly.
The specialist’s assessment may take place at your home or at a hospital. They will gather information about you and your symptoms by:
How Does Memory Loss Happen
If we think of memory as a store of information that sits inside our brain. Normally, when we want to remember something, we send a signal to our brain to go find and retrieve that piece of information. So far, so good. Unfortunately, sometimes this doesnt work properly. In this sense, memory loss happens when our brain is unable to find a piece of information in that store its lost or forgotten.
Studies Find Sage Reliable
Researchers from Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University recently reported that over 1,000 people took the test over a five year period.
In that time, the test detected early signs of cognitive issues in 30% of the participants. Dr. Douglas Scharre reaffirmed his confidence in the test saying, What we found was that this SAGE, self-administered test correlated very well with the very detailed cognitive testing.
When the test is repeated over time, doctors can monitor their patients and detect slight changes in cognitive ability. Scharre went on to say, If we see this change, we can catch it really early, and we can start treatments much earlier than we did without a test.
Because early detection is crucial to managing and treating Alzheimers, SAGE could be an essential tool in slowing the progression of the disease.
Do you think SAGE is a valuable tool in the early diagnosis of Alzheimers? Wed like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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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 Kind Of Scientific Study Was This
This was a cross-sectional study designed to evaluate the Test Your Memory test as a potential method for identifying Alzheimers disease.
Although there are several tests of memory and cognition available, the authors of the study reported that none of them meets three crucial requirements for widespread use by non-specialists, namely taking minimal time to administer, testing a reasonable range of cognitive functions and being able to detect mild Alzheimers disease. It was hoped that the TYM could fulfil all these requirements.
The TYM is completed by the patient themselves and involves 10 tasks with different scores for each. These are: orientation , ability to copy a sentence , semantic knowledge on long-established knowledge about facts, objects and meanings of words , calculation , verbal fluency , similarities , naming , two tasks of visuospatial abilities and recall of a copied sentence . The ability to perform the test was assigned a score of up to five points. In total, those taking the test could score up to 50 points, with a higher score indicating better memory and cognition.
The TYM was given to a control group of 540 people aged 18 to 95 who did not have dementia, 31 patients with non-Alzheimers forms of dementia and 108 people with amnesic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimers disease. Mild cognitive impairment is likely to progress to Alzheimers in individuals with certain cognitive examination scores.
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How Long Do Dementia Patients Live After Diagnosis
Dementia symptoms typically progress slowly. People with dementia will progress from mild to severe dementia at varying speeds and may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. Some people with dementia may live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis, though according to the Alzheimer’s Association research shows that the average person lives for four to eight years after a diagnosis of dementia. It’s important to point out that the diagnosis of dementia is often missed, delayed, or diagnosed when the illness is moderate or advanced. The impact of that variable may not be accurately reflected in the research regarding the years of life post-diagnosis.
Face Your Fear: Take An Alzheimers Self
Shakespeare’s Hamlet grappled with the existential dilemma “To be or not to be, that is the question. In our day, we grapple with another existential question…”to know or not to know” when it comes to risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, in New York, where I am Alzheimers Educator, recently completed a national survey of 1,000 adults, ranging in age from 18 to 80-plus, in which we asked about forgetfulness, memory loss and concern over Alzheimers. The survey found significant reporting of memory loss, significant impact on daily living, significant worry about Alzheimers, and less than significant action in seeking help.
For many of us, losing ones memory is still associated with losing ones mind. Alzheimers disease has joined the ranks of cancer in the category of most dreaded diseases. For baby boomers, products of the technology age, the notion of losing brain ability and slowly shutting down is literally and figuratively unfathomable.
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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
Simple Blood Test May Be Able To Diagnose Alzheimers Disease
A simple blood test may soon be able to diagnose patients with two common forms of dementia Alzheimers disease and frontotemporal dementia and tell the two apart.
Researchers at UC San Francisco analyzed the blood test in more than 300 patients and say they hope to see such a test available in doctors offices within five years.
This test could eventually be deployed in a primary care setting for people with memory concerns to identify who should be referred to specialized centers to participate in clinical trials or to be treated with new Alzheimers therapies, once they are approved, said Adam Boxer, MD, PhD, neurologist at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and senior author of the study published in Nature Medicine. Boxer also is affiliated with the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.
No blood test currently exists for either condition. Alzheimers diagnoses can only be confirmed by a PET scan of the brain, which can be costly, or an invasive lumbar puncture to test cerebrospinal fluid.
If approved, the new blood test could ease screening and help increase the number of patients eligible for clinical trials, which are essential to the search for drugs to stop or slow dementia. Patients who know whether they have Alzheimers or FTD are also better able to manage their symptoms, which may differ between the two conditions.
Adam Boxer, MD, PhD
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Screening For Memory Loss
Worried that someone you know is losing brain functioning? Maybe you are even worried about yourself. What is normal forgetfulness? This article gives you some simple, easy tests you can do at home to help you decide if you might need to consult a doctor.
geralt, CC0 Public Domain via Pixaby
This Article Includes
1. Simple, quick tests that you can to to check someone for memory loss.
2. Quizzes you can take to asses your own risk for Alzheimer’s.
3. Casual questions you can ask to see if someone’s memory is impaired.
4. Web-based, more extensive tests for dementia.
5. Information about genetic tests for Alzheimer’s.
Dementia Care Tips From Experienced Caregivers
Caring for someone with dementia isnt intuitive and doesnt come naturally. Theres a lot to learn, but you dont have to figure everything out the hard way.
In a helpful article at Verywell, social worker Esther Heerema shares 12 dementia care tips that caregivers have learned and wished theyd known sooner.
This advice isnt meant to add pressure or expectations to your already tough job. Theyre tips from caregivers who have been there and done that that can lighten your load, reduce stress, and help you cope with the challenges.
Here, we share highlights from Esthers article along with some of our own insights.
1. Its not worth it to argue with someone who has dementiaAlzheimers and dementia causes your older adults brain to malfunction. When they say things that dont make sense or are clearly untrue, they believe what theyre saying because its what their brain is telling them.
Its frustrating to hear things that arent true and instinctive to try to correct or remind. But that will only lead to both of you arguing or getting upset. And you simply cant win an argument with someone who can no longer use reason or logic consistently.
2. Ignoring symptoms wont make them go awayWhen you notice your older adult struggling with memory, thinking, or judgement, its scary to think that they might have dementia. Because it can be so hard to accept, many people hope that the symptoms will go away on their own or that theyre mistaken.
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What Happens If A Doctor Thinks It’s Alzheimer’s Disease
If a primary care doctor suspects mild cognitive impairment or possible Alzheimers, he or she may refer the patient to a specialist who can provide a detailed diagnosis or further assessment. Specialists include:
- Geriatricians, who manage health care in older adults and know how the body changes as it ages and whether symptoms indicate a serious problem
- Geriatric psychiatrists, who specialize in the mental and emotional problems of older adults and can assess memory and thinking problems
- Neurologists, who specialize in abnormalities of the brain and central nervous system and can conduct and review brain scans
- Neuropsychologists, who can conduct tests of memory and thinking
Memory clinics and centers, including Alzheimers Disease Research Centers, offer teams of specialists who work together to diagnose the problem. Tests often are done at the clinic or center, which can speed up diagnosis.
Simple Diagnostic Tool Predicts Individual Risk Of Alzheimer’s
- Lund University
- Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed an algorithm that combines data from a simple blood test and brief memory tests, to predict with great accuracy who will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the future. The findings are published in Nature Medicine.
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed an algorithm that combines data from a simple blood test and brief memory tests, to predict with great accuracy who will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the future. The findings are published in Nature Medicine.
Approximately 20-30% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease are wrongly diagnosed within specialist healthcare, and diagnostic work-up is even more difficult in primary care. Accuracy can be significantly improved by measuring the proteins tau and beta-amyloid via a spinal fluid sample, or PET scan. However, those methods are expensive and only available at a relatively few specialized memory clinics worldwide. Early and accurate diagnosis of AD is becoming even more important, as new drugs that slow down the progression of the disease will hopefully soon become available.
One clear advantage of the algorithm is that it has been developed for use in clinics without access to advanced diagnostic instruments. In the future, the algorithm might therefore make a major difference in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s within primary healthcare.
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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.
Treating Tbi Related Memory Loss
Memory loss due to traumatic brain injury may only be temporary, and if thats the case, then simply rest and letting the brain heal should be enough.
However, in cases where the injury is more extensive or there is more significant damage to areas of the brain that handle learning and memory, then you will probably need to figure out a way to manage your memory problems, including:
- Removing distractions
- Practicing and repeating information you want to remember
- Using technology
- Use to do lists or other visual aids
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Bath University Brain Test Could Diagnose Alzheimers Early
A pioneering brain wave test could dramatically increase early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, researchers suggest.
Bath University scientists have created a two-minute test that can measure people’s brain waves in response to a series of flashing images.
They hope the test will help to lower the age of diagnosis by five years.
Scientists described it as a possible “holy grail” of a tool that could also be used to detect less common forms of dementia.
Detecting Alzheimers Gets Easier With A Simple Blood Test
New assays could reduce the need for costlier, more invasive brain scans and spinal fluid measures
When a patient complains of forgetfulness, a neurologist might not know immediately whether it results from normal aging, reduced blood flow to the brainor, more ominously, Alzheimers disease. For much of the past century, a definitive Alzheimers diagnosis could only be made during an autopsy. Brain imaging and spinal fluid tests now make it possible to spot the disease in patients even before the initial symptoms appear. But these invasive tests are expensive and generally limited to research settings that are not part of routine care for the millions of people suffering from the most common neurodegenerative disorder.
An era in which an Alzheimers diagnosis can begin in a doctors office is now arriving. Advances in technologies to detect early signs of disease from a blood sample are helping doctors to identify the memory-robbing disorder more accurately and to screen participants more quickly for trials of potential treatments for the more than five million people in the U.S. afflicted with Alzheimers.
The development of a blood-based test for Alzheimers disease is just phenomenal, says Michelle Mielke, a neuroscientist and epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic. The field has been thinking about this for a very long time. Its really been in the last couple of years that the possibility has come to fruition.
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