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
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.
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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Dementia: A Quick Overview
Dementia is not a single neurological disease. Instead, it is a term that is typically used to describe a set of symptoms that negatively affect ones memory, thinking, and social abilities. These symptoms are often severe enough to disrupt ones normal schedule. Mental health disorders can also develop as a result of a dementia patients cognitive distortions, such as personalization or catastrophizing.
Although Alzheimers Disease is the leading cause of dementia, there are a number of other causes of the disease that physicians may explore. Dementia is sometimes linked to other neurological disorders such as Huntingtons Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury , Parkinsons Disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Together, these disorders can cause serious cognitive errors in a patient.
Top 8 Types Of Tests For Detecting Cognitive Errors In Patients With Dementia
Cognitive errors are usually observed in patients with dementia. Therefore, most physicians choose to test for these cognitive errors in order to determine with or not their patient has a neurological disorder. Neurologists, neuropsychologists, geriatricians, and geriatric psychiatrists are often employed to conduct these examinations. Here are the 8 most common types of tests physicians can use to detect cognitive errors in patients.
1. Physical Exam
During an appointment for a physical exam, a physician will inquire about their patients diet, alcohol consumption, list of medications, and any general health factors including genetic predispositions or incidents of family health problems they should know about. The doctor may also ask what symptoms or cognitive errors the patient is experiencing, when they began, how often they occur, and whether they have gotten worse over time.
Once the physician is finished reviewing their patients health history, they will start the physical exam part of the appointment. The physical exam may give the physician further insight into what is causing the cognitive errors in their patients. The exam usually entails listening to the patients heart and lungs, checking their blood pressure and pulse, and collecting urine or blood samples for lab testing.
2. Neurological Exam
3. Mental Status Test
Mini-Mental State Exam
4. Home Screening Test
5. Computerized Test
6. Mood Assessment
7. Brain Imaging
8. Genetic Testing
How To Test For Dementia
This article was co-authored by Jurdy Dugdale, RN. Jurdy Dugdale is a Registered Nurse in Florida. She received her Nursing License from the Florida Board of Nursing in 1989.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 215,620 times.
Although it’s not a clearly defined disease, dementia is usually diagnosed when a person experiences a steep mental decline that interferes with their everyday life. It causes issues with memory and cognitive abilities, which can be debilitating.XTrustworthy SourceAlzheimer’s AssociationNonprofit organizaton focused on supporting those affected by Alzheimer’s and promoting research on the diseaseGo to source While it’s common, dementia is also hard to diagnose, so you’ll need to work with a doctor. A friend or family member can administer the Mini-Mental State Exam for a general idea of cognitive function, but a doctor can make best use of the results.
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.
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‘the Diagnosis Has Been A Blessing For Us’
It was nearly eight years ago when Lisa Gye noticed something was not quite right with her husband, Darren Tofts.
“I just suspected that it was anxiety,” she said.
“And so I spent a lot of time trying to get him to see a psychologist. Because I thought a lot of the time when people are anxious, they become forgetful and they become a bit disorganised.”
For around 30 years, Mr Tofts was a professor of media and communications at Swinburne University.
At first, he suspected his stressful job was to blame for his anxiety. But after he retired, his condition worsened.
“At the time we didn’t know what was going on. Until we realised that something was going on ‘up here’,” he said.
It took around five years for Mr Tofts to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He was only 57 at the time.
“When you’re not quite sure what’s going on, it can be quite frightening. And then when you do find out and know, well the fear perhaps goes away a bit,” Mr Tofts said.
Ms Gye believes any test that could help deliver an earlier diagnosis is invaluable for people with dementia and their families.
“Alzheimer’s is not just something that affects old people,” she said.
“Our quality of life has improved, it hasn’t gotten worse. It was bad before, because we didn’t know what was going on.”
Mr Tofts and Ms Gye have chosen to be open about his diagnosis.
What Is Mixed Dementia
It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .
Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.
Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.
Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:
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Benefits Of The Clock
The clock-drawing test has these advantages:
- Fast screening tool: It is a very quick way to screen a person for possible dementia. It often requires only a minute or two for completion.
- Easy to administer: It does not require much training to administer.
- Well-tolerated: This test is easier to complete than the MMSE for people with short attention spans.
- Free: Unlike some cognitive tests that require you to purchase a copy of the test and scoring tools, the clock-drawing test can be completed with only the cost of paper and a pen.
- May be useful in developing countries: Because of the low cost and minimal training, this test can be used in countries with fewer resources.
- Screening for delirium: This test has also been administered to patients in the hospital to assess for signs of delirium. Delirium is a sudden deterioration in someones cognitive ability. It can follow the use of anesthesia for surgery, for example, as well as be triggered by an infection or illness.
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:
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Get A Professional Assessment
If you suspect a loved one may be showing signs of Alzheimers or another dementia, it’s important to seek an assessment by a qualified clinician.
They can work to rule out other potentially reversible causes of dementia, such as vitamin B12 deficiency and normal pressure hydrocephalus, as well as determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Blood Tests To Check For Other Conditions
Your GP will arrange for blood tests to help exclude other causes of symptoms that can be confused with dementia.
In most cases, these blood tests will check:
- liver function
- haemoglobin A1c
- vitamin B12 and folate levels
If your doctor thinks you may have an infection, they may also ask you to do a urine test or other investigations.
Read more about blood tests.
Epidemiology And Risk Factors
After 65 years of age, the lifetime risk of developing dementia is approximately 17 to 20 percent 70 percent of patients with dementia have Alzheimer disease, 17 percent have vascular dementia, and 13 percent have a combination of dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson-related dementia, alcoholic dementia, or frontal lobe dementia.4,5 The transitional state between normal cognition and early Alzheimer disease is called mild cognitive impairment, which is defined as memory impairment without meeting criteria for dementia. Each year, 10 to 15 percent of patients with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer disease.6 Alzheimer disease affects 5.3 million Americans, and is the sixth leading cause of death.4 Median survival time after diagnosis of dementia is 4.5 years.7
Risk factors for dementia include age, family history of dementia, apolipoprotein E4 genotype, cardiovascular comorbidities, chronic anticholinergic use, and lower educational level.810 The greatest risk factor for dementia is increasing age. In persons 71 to 79 years of age, the prevalence is approximately 5 percent, increasing to 37 percent in persons older than 90 years.5 Having a college education has been shown to delay cognitive dysfunction by two years, compared with having less education.10 The presence of the apolipoprotein E4 genotype can increase the risk of dementia two- to 10-fold, and chronic anticholinergic use is associated with a somewhat increased risk .5,9
What Are The Different Types Of Dementia
Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases.
The five most common forms of dementia are:
- Alzheimers disease, the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
- Frontotemporal dementia, a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins tau and TDP-43.
- Lewy body dementia, a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
- Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
- Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia.
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What Is Executive Functioning
Executive functioning refers to the ability to focus, plan, remember and follow through on instructions, prioritize tasks, and control impulses. It involves working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control. The clock-drawing test can provide clues to how well a person is able to accomplish and coordinate each of these skills.
Beware Of Doctor Office Dementia Tests
In All Health Watch by Ambar JonesDecember 27, 2018
Getting Alzheimers is one of the biggest health fears among seniors. So when you suffer forgetfulnessmaybe you lose your keys or you cant remember someones nameits natural to worry that you may have early symptoms of the disease.
This is especially true if youve seen a parent or other family member suffer with it.
Thats why many seniors ask their doctor to test them for dementia. A new study found thats a bad idea.
Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School discovered that doctor office dementia tests are only slightly more accurate than a coin toss.1
The study examined three common dementia tests administered by general practitioners:
The Mini-Mental State Examination is used to gauge verbal memory and mental orientation.
The Animal Naming test challenges patients to name as many animals as they can in one minute.
The Memory Impairment Screen tests verbal memory.
The study looked at more than 800 seniors. Their average age was 82.
All the subjects were first given comprehensive dementia workups a neurological exam, review of medications, DNA sampling, and lifestyle and family history interviews. The results showed about a third of the subjects had dementia.
After that, the subjects were given the three doctors office dementia tests. The researchers then compared those results with the comprehensive assessments.
A Better Way to Diagnose Dementia
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Tests For Finding Cognitive Errors In Dementia Patients
Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
When it comes to testing and finding cognitive errors in dementia patients, physicians have a variety of methods to choose from. Dementia a general medical term that encompasses various symptoms indicating a decline in ones mental functioning is found in 5 to 8% of all adults over the age of 65. The rate doubles every 5 years after this age. Dementia is typically caused by damage or a loss in function in one part of the brain. Alzheimers Disease accounts for 60 to 70% of dementia cases.
It is imperative that friends and relatives of older patients remain alert for any signs or symptoms of dementia. The earlier the diagnosis, the higher the chance a patient has of benefiting from treatment for cognitive errors resulting from dementia. Read on to learn what signs of dementia to watch for, how your loved one could be tested for cognitive errors and different treatment options you can choose from.
If Youre Worried About Possible Dementia
Lets say youre like the man I spoke to recently, and youre worried that an older parent might have dementia. Youre planning to have a doctor assess your parent. Heres how you can help the process along:
- Obtain copies of your parents medical information, so you can bring them to the dementia evaluation visit. The most useful information to bring is laboratory results and any imaging of the brain, such as CAT scans or MRIs. See this post for a longer list of medical information that is very helpful to bring to a new doctor.