Many of us are afraid that we or a loved one might get Alzheimer’s disease, and often question whether the memory difficulties we see are signs of early dementia. There are two simple and reliable tests that one can use to evaluate memory loss:
- Verbal Fluency Test: Ask the person to name as many different animals as possible in one minute. A normal score for a person with 8 or more years of education is 15 or more, whereas a score of less than 15 raises a concern for dementia.
- Mini-Cognitive Assessment Instrument: Ask the person to repeat and remember 3 unrelated objects, then ask him/her to draw the face of a clock with the time of 10 minutes to 11. Finish by asking him/her to repeat the 3 objects. The test is scored 0-5, with 0-2 highly suggestive of dementia. Each correctly remembered object is scored as 1 point each, and the correctly drawn clock is scored as 2 points. See this test at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0315/p497.
If one or both of the above tests are positive, a physician consult is recommended.
North Idaho Direct Primary Care provides prompt, thorough and cost effective assessment of individuals who are concerned about memory loss in themselves or a loved one. While these screening tests are useful in determining the probability of dementia, they do not confirm the diagnosis nor do they determine the cause. A physician-directed history and physical examination, lab work and often an imaging test such as MRI are necessary to make the diagnosis and potentially provide effective treatment. If you would like to make an appointment, or find out more about direct primary care, you may contact our office at 208-772-5204.
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