Many People Who Have Watched A Family Member Suffer The Effects Of Alzheimers Disease Wonder If Its A Genetic Condition And If Theyll One Day Undergo The Same Symptoms
While theres no cure for this irreversible, progressive disease, scientists and researchers are learning more about it every day. One thing we do know about Alzheimer’s is that of the two types early onset and late onset both have a strong link to genetics.
According to Alzheimers research, some cases of early-onset Alzheimers disease are caused by genetic mutations that are inherited from your parents. In fact, a person whose mother or father carries a genetic mutation for early-onset Alzheimers disease has a 50 percent chance of also having that mutation.
And, if they do inherit that that genetic mutation, the chances of developing early-onset Alzheimers disease are high. When it comes to late-onset Alzheimers, scientists arent entirely sure exactly why it develops or what causes it.
Theres a general belief among Alzheimers researchers that a combination of several factors genetics, lifestyle, and environment lead to the condition. Theres no specific gene that has been linked directly to late-onset Alzheimers disease, though researchers have determined that having a certain kind of the apolipoprotein E gene or any of its variants on chromosome 19 can increase your risk of developing the disease.
How To Test Yourself For Cognitive And Memory Dysfunction
The SAGE test isnt completed online. Instead, its a series of four forms that you print out at home. But you only need to choose one of the forms for your evaluation.
After downloading and printing any of the four forms, youre asked to use a pen to take it without looking at the clock or getting help from anyone. Then, youll be able to bring the test to a physician, who will help you proceed accordingly.
The Truth About Dementia Tests
Certain tests for dementia don’t offer much diagnostic value in general, including genetic tests for Alzheimer’s. The only gene tests that can accurately determine whether you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease are for the autosomal dominant form, also known as familial early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is very rare, accounting for less than 5% of total cases, and it typically starts before middle age.
A blood test for the Alzheimer’s risk gene, APO-e4, also exists. However, the use of APO-e4 as a screening measure is controversial because it can’t determine for sure whether you will develop the disease.
Also of questionable merit are the do-it-yourself, at-home tests for dementia that are marketed directly to consumers. The Alzheimer’s Association doesn’t recommend these tests, because they don’t provide an adequate assessment of your risks. Distinguishing between normal, age-related memory changes and early signs of a more worrisome condition can be difficult. If you’re going to be evaluated for dementia, you want a neuropsychologist, neurologist, geriatrician, or geriatric psychiatrist to do the testing and help you understand the results.
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What Is The Sage Test
SAGE is a self-administered test available online. It has been scientifically evaluated in comparison with other common dementia tests and has been found to be an accurate tool to identify signs of memory and thinking impairment. While not meant to replace a clinical assessment, the SAGE test can be helpful in identifying cognitive losses earlier, when treatment may be most effective.
The SAGE test contains a series of questions that measure cognitive functioning. There are actually four different tests to choose from, and they are all interchangeable. If you took all four , you should score essentially the same on each test.The different options are available to reduce the chances of inaccurate scoring that can result from re-taking the same test too frequently.
Surprising And Encouraging Results
The results were not predictable.
On the EEG and MEG , the cognitively frail individuals performed robustly that is, just as well as those without cognitive impairment. And, structurally, the brains of cognitively frail people were similar to those of individuals who were cognitively healthy.
The brains of the cognitively frail individuals were clearly different than those of the people with MCI or Alzheimers disease. What does this mean? Dr. Kocagoncu explained:
Our results were surprising and really encouraging! We found that when we take a close look at the brain structure and neural function of the cognitively frail, they are just like healthy older adults. They dont show any volume loss in the brain areas associated with Alzheimers pathology and show no functional impairments in associative and novelty processing.
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Referral To A Specialist
If a GP is unsure about whether you have Alzheimer’s disease, they may refer you to a specialist, such as:
- a psychiatrist
- an elderly care physician
- a neurologist
The specialist may be based in a memory clinic alongside other professionals who are experts in diagnosing, caring for and advising people with dementia and their families.
There’s no simple and reliable test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, but the staff at the memory clinic will listen to the concerns of both you and your family about your memory or thinking.
They’ll assess your memory and other areas of mental ability and, if necessary, arrange more tests to rule out other conditions.
She Schedules Weekly Social Engagements
Tanzi says that staying socially engaged is incredibly important.
“Loneliness has been confirmed as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s,” he says. “Social engagement and participating in positive, supporting social networks have been shown to be protective against a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”
Dr. Oz’s mom particularly loves singing with a group of people, spending time with friends, and watching documentaries from her era.
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Comparison Table Of Dementia Tests
|Types of Online, At-Home and Clinical Dementia & Alzheimers Tests
|SLUMS has shown sensitivity to mild cognitive impairment, like the MoCA, but has not been studied as much as other tests on this list to determine reliability.
|Shorter than other tests taken in doctors offices. Not as widespread but probably reliable.
How Does A Doctor Test For Dementia
There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. Dementias are diagnosed by evaluating and understanding a persons memory and thinking patterns. Doctors will consider a persons memory, grasp of language, mood states, problem-solving skills, ability to maintain focus and perform complex tasks. Evaluation may include in-office cognitive screening , physical examination, and review of labs. Labwork helps to determine whether there are vitamin deficiencies or hormonal changes at play. In some cases, evaluation may require neuropsychological testing, brain imaging , and genetic testing.
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Why Is The Test Useful
Research has shown that changes to lifestyle can have a significant impact on mitigating the risk of future disease, or at least delay the onset of symptoms and slow the rate of disease progression.
With knowledge provided by the test physician and patient can discuss the actions that can be taken to mitigate the risks of the onset and development of Alzheimers disease symptoms.
Many People Know About Alzheimer’s Disease And Fear That They May One Day Encounter Its Effects As Older Age Approaches
For many people who have experienced the effects of Alzheimer’s through caring for a loved family member or friend, it can be sobering to think about managing the disease themselves. In fact, developing Alzheimers disease is the number one health fear among Americans age 50 and older according to a study by the Alzheimers Association.
What’s in this Guide?
Disclaimer: Before You Read
It is important to know that your genes are not your destiny. There are various environmental and genetic factors working together to shape you. No matter your genetic makeup, maintain ideal blood pressure and glucose levels, avoid harmful alcohol intake, exercise regularly, get regular sleep. And for goodness sake, don’t smoke.
Genetics is a quickly changing topic. We will do our best to keep our content current, but it’s important to know the new research can change our content at any time. For this reason, it is important to talk to your doctor about any medical symptoms or genetic tests you are considering. The information on this website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, and/or treatment.
Because there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, many people want to know how they can reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and many also wonder what their chances of developing it are.
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Dna Tests Are Becoming Popular Scientific Tools That Give You A Strong Insight Into How Your Body May Respond To A Variety Of Genetic And Environmental Factors
Believe it or not, but DNA tests have been used to help people understand how their genetics impacts food allergies, how easy or difficult it is for them to lose weight, or how they may respond to certain kinds of medication or medical procedures.
In addition, popular at-home DNA test kits that are purchased online can be used to learn more about your genetic ancestors and family history. As DNA science advances and becomes more accessible and affordable to everyday people, the bounds of what DNA tests can tell us are endless.
What Are Next Steps After Taking It
After you complete the test you should take it to your healthcare provider, who can score the test very quickly, even within seconds, and give you immediate feedback.
According to Scharre your doctor may be able to glean that a specific part of your brain is not working as well as other parts depending on how you answer specific questions. That may help them in their diagnostic considerations,” he explains.
Depending on your test results, your primary care physician may schedule additional neurological tests or brain imaging magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography scans to rule out other conditions that may be impairing your thinking or memory, such as stroke, Parkinsons disease, brain tumor, or other illnesses, like hypothyroidism.
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Do Genes Cause Diseases
Genetic mutations can cause diseases. If a person inherits a genetic mutation that causes a certain disease, then he or she will usually get the disease. Sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease are examples of inherited genetic disorders.
Other changes or differences in genes, called genetic variants, may increase or decrease a person’s risk of developing a particular disease. When a genetic variant increases disease risk but does not directly cause a disease, it is called a genetic risk factor.
Identifying genetic variants may help researchers find the most effective ways to treat or prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s in an individual. This approach, called precision medicine, takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.
The expression of geneswhen they are switched on or offcan be affected, positively and negatively, by environmental and lifestyle factors, such as exercise, diet, chemicals, or smoking. The field of epigenetics is studying how such factors can alter a cell’s DNA in ways that affect gene activity.
What Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Dementia
The term dementia refers to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes, are easily confused, or exhibit different behaviors or personality traits are mistakenly thought to have dementia. These symptoms could be the result of a variety of other conditions or disorders, including other neurocognitive disorders such as Parkinsons disease, brain growths or tumors, mild cognitive impairment , and mood disorders, like depression.
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How Can You Get Tested
The Sampled Alzheimers Risk test is only available through a physician. If both patient and physician wish to proceed with the test the physician will be able to order it on the patients behalf.
The Sampled Alzheimers Risk test is not currently covered by national healthcare systems or insurance providers, so patients will need to pay for the test either directly, or through the physician.
How Accurate And Reliable Are The Results
Like any test, SAGE is not perfect. Scharre points out that individuals have a wide variety of cognitive talents and this needs to be taken into account. There will be individuals who score well but have a decline from their previous abilities. Repeat testing over time will find those that are progressing, he explains.
Some individuals will not score as well, but that may represent their baseline talents, and their score would not suggest any specific brain condition,” he adds. This is why its important to have the test interpreted in light of ones medical history by a healthcare provider.
Its important to note that other factors could be affecting your memory and thinking on any given day.
Perhaps you dont have a memory impairment but are quite depressed, ill, or sleep deprived. explains Jessica Z. K. Caldwell, PhD, director of neuropsychology training and staff neuropsychologist at Cleveland Clinics Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you have concerns about your memory but are also experiencing these symptoms, Dr. Caldwell suggests you see your doctor.
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When Testing Is Worthwhile
While screening for dementia when you don’t have any symptoms doesn’t make sense, Dr. Nelson states, “Any memory or cognitive changes that concern youor the people close to youwarrant a visit to a geriatrician, neurologist, or neuropsychologist.”
Normal, age-related memory lapseslike forgetting the name of your high school English teacher, or having trouble recollecting where you had dinner on a trip to Parisshouldn’t be cause for concern.
But call your doctor if you start to forget information you once knew well, or memory loss is interfering with your daily function. “When you’re beginning to forget the name of your high school or your grandchild, or whether a close family member is dead or alive, or you have difficulty with tasks that were once familiar, like becoming disoriented in your own home or neighborhood, those types of episodes are concerning,” Dr. Nelson says.
When you see a doctor, you’ll go through a series of tests, including a neurological exam to determine how well your brain and nervous system are functioning. The doctor will check your reflexes, eye movements, speech, and coordination.
He or she will also ask you a variety of questions that will assess your visuospatial abilities .
Your evaluation may involve tests for other conditions that can cause memory loss. These include
underactive thyroid gland
vitamin deficiencies, including B1 and B12.
Can Dementia Suddenly Get Worse
The progression of dementia depends on the underlying disease. Some diseases have a rapid progression. Others progress more slowly. Any sudden change with either slow or rapid progression should be evaluated for another cause. In most cases, changes with dementia may seem like they came out of the blue when they actually may have been slowly developing in the background. The best way to prepare for changes and manage expectations is through information. Your doctor and medical team will be a valuable resource. There are a variety of educational resources that are also available through the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimers / Dementia Online Quick Test: Introduction & Disclaimer
Please read and agree to the following before beginning the Alzheimers / Dementia Quick Test. Note this test asks questions of the caregiver, family member or someone familiar with the individual showing symptoms. For a test that asks questions of the patient, go here.
This test cannot provide a definitive diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimers. If you are seeking a definitive diagnosis you must schedule an appointment with your physician. Instead, this test provides concerned family members with a Clinical Dementia Rating score for their loved one. This score indicates the relative level of dementia the individual may have and what if any, next steps might be taken. This test was originally intended to be administered by a medical professional. In this version, the level of expertise required to administer the test has been lowered so that a someone familiar with the patient, such as a close family member, can do so. Therefore the results of this test may be less accurate than were it administered by a trained professional.
How To Take The Sage Test
If you are taking the paper version of the test, youll find four slightly different variations of the test on the official website. It doesnt matter which one you take. The test consists of four pages. Print it out and answer the questions in ink without the assistance of others. Don’t look at a clock or calendar while taking the test and just do the best you can.
You can take the test in virtually any setting. It will usually take about 10 to 15 minutes but theres no set time limit.
Its important not to cheat in order to get a better assessment.
In some cases, you might choose to take the test at your doctors office where it can be evaluated right away.
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When To See Your Healthcare Provider
After taking the SAGE test at home, it’s important to bring a copy to your healthcare provider for evaluation. While the SAGE test does not diagnose any specific condition, the results can help your healthcare provider know if further evaluation is needed and provide a baseline score to compare with future scores.
Healthcare provider evaluation is recommended for anyone scoring below 17 points on the SAGE test.
If Youre Considering Utilizing A Dna Test You May Feel A Bit Overwhelmed By All The Options Available To Purchase Online Or To Have Administered Through Your Doctors Office
Heres the difference between a handful of common DNA tests that you may have seen commercials for or encountered online.
Ancestry DNA tests: This kind of DNA test is the kind you may have seen ads for, where it says submitting a DNA sample can help you find out more about your family history. Ancestry DNA tests are becoming more and more popular around the globe, and they often come with additional features such as family tree databases to help you compile your genealogy.
And, if you choose to participate, these DNA tests can also compare your DNA to that of people who have also submitted a test to identify potential relatives, which can work in the benefit of people who are adopted or dont know much of their family. Popular ancestry DNA tests include AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and MyHeritage DNA, though more and more companies are offering this kind of DNA testing as time goes on.
At-Home Medical DNA tests: As more people want to know about their genetics, DNA testing companies have developed a variety of DNA test kits that can clue you on potential personal health risks. One of the biggest draws of these tests is that they can be taken within the privacy of your own home and theyre affordable which means that the information you gain from these tests can help you understand your personal health situation without the expense of a doctor-ordered DNA test.
If youre a woman, you wont have any Y-DNA for a DNA test kit to reveal .
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