Navigation Links
Uncertainty Surrounds Testing for Alzheimer's
Date:10/2/2009

Early diagnosis is helpful, but no sure-fire test exists, experts say,,

FRIDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The earlier a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is made, the earlier treatment can begin. On that, experts agree.

With a growing array of tests available to predict your odds of developing the degenerative brain disorder -- including some sold over the Internet -- it seems easier than ever to figure it out: Do you or don't you have out-of-the-ordinary memory problems? Should you or shouldn't you be worried about late-life dementia?

But answering those questions is not as simple as it might seem. For starters, before deciding whether to take an Alzheimer's test, experts say it's important to consider the pros and cons.

There is no quick or definitive test for Alzheimer's, said Dr. Raj Shah, medical director of the Rush Memory Clinic at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The disease now affects more than 5 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

One test commonly used by experts such as Shah is called the mini-mental state examination, a test of cognitive function -- including memory, reasoning, communicating and understanding -- to see if deficits exist. Also, British researchers have compared a new test they developed, called TYM, for "Test Your Memory," with other currently available tests. Their report, published in BMJ in early June, found TYM more accurate than many tests. Numerous tests are sold over the Internet.

None of the tests are diagnostic, experts caution, and serve only as a screening, sometimes with results suggesting that the person taking the test needs further evaluation and sometimes not. No test should be a substitute for a thorough exam by a skilled doctor, warns the Alzheimer's Association.

"There's been this search for the holy grail, the perfect test for Alzheimer's," Shah said. So far at least, none has been found.

However, even given the limitations of the tests, the results might allay anxieties.

"The number one fear for older adults is memory loss," Shah said. "A lot of people live in fear that they are going to develop it, so when they start to see some changes in their memory, they become anxious," even though the changes could be within the realm of normal.

So if someone takes the test and passes with flying colors, "it can give the person peace of mind," Shah said. But there's a downside, he pointed out: Depending on the test, it might not be accurate and could be providing a false sense of security.

That's especially true if you're a person of above-average intelligence, said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "If you are highly educated and had an intellectually challenging job, you may be too smart for the screen," he said. "You may have lost a degree of cognitive performance typical of Alzheimer's yet still perform well above the norm on the test," he explained.

"The screens have their limits," he said. Though highly intelligent people might get a false negative, test-takers who are below normal intelligence could get results that say they could have dementia when they're actually functioning within the same norms as they did earlier in life.

And if the results are inaccurate, Shah said, that can waste time and money. "You have to go through the anxiety of further testing and the extra cost, and being concerned that you have Alzheimer's when you don't," he said.

Everyone who has an abnormal screening test result should discuss the results with their physician, Shah said. If the screening test results show substantial memory problems -- and the finding is backed up through a physician's evaluation -- the advantage is earlier treatment.

Another important advantage of knowing about Alzheimer's in the early stages, Shah said, is that people and their loved ones can begin planning for the future -- discussing what medical care or living arrangements might be needed, as well as making decisions about health-care power of attorney and more.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has information on the warning signs of Alzheimer's.



SOURCES: Gary J. Kennedy, M.D., director, geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Raj Shah, M.D., medical director, Rush Memory Clinic, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; June 9, 2009, BMJ, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. H1N1 Swine Flu Preparedness Uncertainty Results in Higher Business Disruption Risk
2. Concierge Medicine Takes Front Seat with Health Care Reform Uncertainty
3. Economic Uncertainty Fuels Vendormate Growth in 2008
4. Perceived level of intimacy within a relationship predicts relational uncertainty
5. UCLA study shows different areas of the brain respond to belief, disbelief and uncertainty
6. Belief, disbelief and uncertainty activate distinct brain regions
7. UMass Boston Researcher, Partner Develop Non-Invasive Technique for Lead Testing in Humans
8. FDA Clears Sysmex XE-2100D Hematology Analyzer for Blood Processing Center Quality Control Release Testing
9. Results of Ongoing Testing Show Air Quality is Safe Near Schools in Beaver and Erie Counties in Pennsylvania
10. Mayo Clinic researchers lead national trial testing new treatment for chronic, severe indigestion
11. Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Prometheus, Upholds the Patentability of Its Claims for Methods of Thiopurine Metabolite Testing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet ... product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural ... two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes ... important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn ... specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand ... all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for ... is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 ... The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to ... operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... CLEMENTE, Calif. , June 24, 2016  American Respiratory Labs ... company, is now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments in patients, ... Technologies , Inc. Patients are no longer limited ... ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne R. of ... done in the comfort of her own home. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... NAMUR , Belgium , ...  (NYSE MKT: VNRX), today announced the appointment of ... Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective ... the Company,s Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance ... Board, Dr. Futcher will provide independent expertise and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Any dentist who has made an implant supported ... Many of them do not even offer this as a ... laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able to offer ... high cost that the majority of today,s patients would not ... Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and inventor of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: