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Testing for Alzheimers Disease

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Alzheimer's is a disease that robs millions of people each year of their memories, their personalities, and the ability to complete daily activities. The disease can greatly affect the quality of life of every sufferer as well as those people around him, most especially immediate family members.

Early Diagnosis May Be Beneficial

For a long time, most people believed that there is nothing that could be done to prevent this awful disease. People came to accept it as a result of deteriorating of mental abilities due to age. It was considered as simply something that people had to cope up with when approaching their golden years of life. But doctors today have discovered and now consider Alzheimer's as a disease that can be treated up to a certain extent.

The hallmark sign associated with Alzheimer's disease is the gradual loss of memory, especially in people of 65 years and older. Although forgetfulness is a sign of the disease, it should also be noted that there are other signs that may also indicate the onset of this ailment. Before coming up with your own conclusions, it is best to know more about Alzheimer's through its exhibited signs, how it can be diagnosed and how it will eventually affects the sufferer.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be done through a series of tests. The patient exhibiting some signs of the disease must undergo a variety of laboratory tests, such as physical and mental assessments. As of late, there is no known single test available that will effectively diagnose Alzheimer's in patients.

But with recent developments and advances in the medical field, doctors have been able to devise a set of Alzheimer's disease testing tools that can help in effectively detect symptoms of the disease in its earlier stages.

A Battery of Tests Lead to Approximately 90% Accuracy in Diagnosing Alzheimer's

While there is no single definitive test that is able to determine if one has Alzheimer's disease, a battery of testing makes it possible for physicians to diagnose Alzheimer's with about 90 percent accuracy. Such a battery of tests can take anywhere from one day to several weeks in order to ensure accuracy and the proper diagnosis.

Among the various tests available there is one set of tests that has recently been developed that will further help make diagnosing Alzheimer's disease easier. A professor of psychology at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, has developed a new tool for testing called the "Seven Minute Screen" that can test people for the early signs of Alzheimer's disease as well as other forms of dementia.

The Seven Minute Screen, developed by Paul Solomon, is actually a set of four tests that can be administered to patients in just less than ten minutes.  On average, it can be completed in just seven minutes and forty three seconds. What makes this test even more convenient is that it can be administered by any medical professional with just over an hour of basic training.

The short time that it takes for completing the whole test is an attractive option for doctors who may not have the luxury of time when they are diagnosing patients with Alzheimer's.

More Advanced Alzheimer's Testing is Being Developed

The Seven Minute Screen test is just a part of a much larger effort by medical researchers to develop better ways of detecting Alzheimer's early. A likely option that some researchers are trying to look into is the use of brain scanning technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) to identify even the smallest damage to the brain before any impairment in cognitive ability ever show up in people likely to develop Alzheimer's. Other possible approaches being studied involve looking for gene abnormalities in patients that have been linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Next Up:  A Closer Look at the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease