Testing for Alzheimer’s
Because of the unique ways Alzheimer's affects individuals, it simply isn't possible to medically diagnose the condition with 100% accuracy. Currently Alzheimer's is diagnosed through a complete assessment that takes symptoms and all possible causes into effect.
The current method of diagnosing Alzheimer’s uses a series of diagnostic tests that identify its symptoms and eliminate other possible conditions and includes:
- Mental status testing assessing memory, language and other cognitive domains
- Mood assessment to detect depression or other mood disorders
- Brain imaging test such as MRI or CT scans (primarily used to rule out other conditions like tumors, strokes, head trauma damage or fluid buildup in the brain)
New advancements are being made in the development of tests that will identify Alzheimer’s disease earlier and with more certainty, including blood tests that detect lipids believed to be related to the onset of dementia. A type of brain scan to detect plaques is also showing promising results, but at this point, no definitive tests are available to the general public.
Genetic testing is a fairly reliable way to detect risk factors for Familial Alzheimer’s, but this variation of the disease only counts for about 5% of the cases.
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Understanding what Alzheimer's does to the brain
Reducing your risks of contracting Alzheimer's
Recognizing the effects of Alzheimer's
Medications and everyday care for individuals with Alzheimer's
What to expect as Alzheimer's progresses
Return to main Alzheimer's information page.
Return to the main Types of Dementia page
A form of dementia connected with repetetive head traumas and concussions. Learn more here.
Frontotemporal dementia is often responsible for early-onset dementia cases. Learn more here.
Symptoms such as muscle rigidity, tremors and changes in speech and gait are common. Learn more here.
Causes a decline in cognitive skills due to brain cell damage due to circulatory problems. Learn more here.
A common form of dementia combining Alzheimer's-like cognitive symptoms and Parkinson's-like motor issues.