There isn’t any single test that can be performed to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. The initial assessment for a patient who may be suspected to have early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease would include a thorough collection of medical history, followed by specific examinations. A genetic test is performed in order to determine whether or not the cause may be hereditary. Researchers have identified certain genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. The APOE-e4 is a type of blood testing procedure used as a screening tool, however, it is currently suggested for clinical trials only.
Following the blood tests, the next step would be a neurological exam. This exam identifies particular brain disorders that may be identified by a MRI. Doctors will test reflexes, eye movement coordination, speech and sensation. Testing mental status would also be a key component in the series of examinations to assess cognitive function. The mini-mental state exam requires that the patient answers between ten to twelve questions relating to everyday mental skills. A mini-cognitive test is beneficial by assessing processing and memory. The doctor dictates a word or phrase and the patient is asked to repeat what the doctor says after a couple of minutes.
Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, new treatments have been released to assist patients who have been diagnosed. Physicians who specialize in the treatment and management of Alzheimers Disease strive to improve or slow the progression of memory loss and aim to maintain independent functions. The FDA has approved two drugs; cholinesterase and memantine, to assist with cognitive symptoms. Researchers indicate that treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors can begin at any time after diagnosis, particularly for those with mild to moderate symptoms.