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Most neuropsychological tests don't tell Alzheimer's disease from vascular dementia
Date:7/8/2009

ese muddied waters, "The combined picture is what's important, so we need to look at how we can improve diagnosis by combining different measures," said Mathias.

Of note, many commonly used tests -- such as Digit Span (repeating a set of numbers forward, backward), verbal fluency (generating words by first letter or category, such as animals), drawing tasks and more were unable to distinguish between dementia types. "While these tests may assist in diagnosing dementia, they do not adequately discriminate between Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia," wrote the authors. Teasing apart different types of dementia is often harder than deciding whether someone is showing cognitive decline in the first place, Mathias explained.

Although the two tests that worked best would most reliably contribute to a clinical diagnosis, "All cognitive tests should be used cautiously and only in conjunction with other information (imaging, medical history) when diagnosing patients," the authors said.


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