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ALZHEIMER'S DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

This section discusses both Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about the symptoms of both and the risk factors of both.

How Is Early Alzheimer’s Disease or MCI Diagnosed?

Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist who will probably perform an extensive interview. The neurologist may also question someone close to you about any recent changes in your memory, behavior, and personality. Questions may also be asked about your medical history, medications you take, and any history of stroke, head trauma, depression, alcohol abuse, or other possible neurological disorders. These things can all affect memory and may cause symptoms similar to MCI.

Your neurologist may also perform one or more of the following medical tests:

  • Mini mental status examination - Your doctor may conduct other interviews and tests to assess your level of cognitive function. The tests may evaluate learning, attention, language, memory recall, and ability to reason.
  • Neuroimaging - These may include a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI), a computerized tomography scan (CAT or SPECT), or a newer PET scan. Moreover, scans to look for specific Alzheimer’s changed, such as amyloid plaque, are becoming available. Scans may allow your doctor to evaluate important areas and identify any abnormalities that may be present in your brain. Your doctor may repeat the scan at a later time for comparison purposes.
  • Neuropsychological testing - An examination may be conducted in order to identify patterns of cognitive function. The tests will evaluate your memory, language, attention, and problem-solving abilities. The results will be compared to those from people of similar age and education levels.
  • Additional tests - may be performed to rule out other causes for your condition and to help obtain a better overall assessment.

It is extremely important to diagnose MCI and Alzheimer’s at beginning stages because the treatments currently available work best when an early diagnosis is made.

What Treatment is Available?

Early treatment options include:

We now know that how we live our lives can help decrease our chances of developing memory loss and possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Medical findings have been published about the correlation between life-style changes and prevention of other diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. The same premise holds true with respect to Alzheimer’s. Taking a proactive, integrative approach to preventing Alzheimer's, MCI and Early Alzheimer’s disease is imperative. Take action today!

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