Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cognitive tests a 'first step' to Alzheimer's diagnosis

Chicago Tribune

The sooner someone is diagnosed with dementia, the better.

Increasingly, that's the mantra of experts in Alzheimer's disease, a condition that robs people of their memories and ability to think.

The Alzheimer's Association is highlighting the message in a new media campaign that began last month on television and is continuing with print ads in local markets.

How does this work? And why deliver a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, an incurable condition that many older people fear, sooner rather than later?



If a family member is becoming confused and forgetful much more often, experts recommend a brief test that can suggest potential dementia. (For 10 possible warning signs of dementia, go to the Alzheimer's Association Web site, alz.org.)

The most common is the Mini Mental State Exam, which asks takers to name several objects, identify the year, date and season, and count backward, among other tasks.

Limitations of the exam include its length and relatively poor ability to identify people with mild cognitive impairment, explained William Thies, chief medical office for the Alzheimer's Association. Mild cognitive impairment is often a precursor to dementia.

A new test by researchers in Britain, called Test Your Memory, may become an alternative. In a recent article in the British Medical Journal, researchers reported the five-minute, self-administered exam detected 93 percent of patients with Alzheimer's.

These brief cognitive tests are "a first step," said Dr. Raj Shah, an Alzheimer's expert at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Further evaluation involves.....read more of Cognitive tests a 'first step' to Alzheimer's diagnosis

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here are more interesting dementia articles and activities,

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