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Saturday, March 29, 2008

How is Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosed?


clipped from www.nia.nih.gov
Today, the only definite way to diagnose AD is to find out whether there are plaques and tangles in brain tissue.
At specialized centers, doctors can diagnose AD correctly up to 90 percent of the time. Doctors use several tools to diagnose "probable" AD, including:
  • questions about the person's general health, past medical problems, and ability to carry out daily activities;
  • tests to measure memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language;
  • medical tests - such as tests of blood, urine, or spinal fluid; and
  • brain scans.
  • Why is early diagnosis important?

    An early, accurate diagnosis of AD helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care options while the patient can still take part in making decisions. Early diagnosis also offers the best chance to treat the symptoms of the disease.

    The course the disease takes and how fast changes occur vary from person to person.
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