Can a Psychologist Test for Alzheimer Disease?


Quick Answer

According to the American Psychological Association, clinical psychologists have identified paired-associate learning tasks, perceptual identification tasks, visual association tasks and dichotic listening tasks as tests that can help detect Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear. In addition, neuropsychologists use other clinical measures, such as the ADAS-Cog and the CANTAB.

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Can a Psychologist Test for Alzheimer Disease?
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Full Answer

When testing for Alzheimer’s, psychologists with special training work with patients to assess memory and the ability to focus as well as communication and problem-solving skills. One kind of test is the paired-associate learning test, where subjects are asked to remember related and unrelated pairs of words. Another kind of test is the perceptual identification task, which requires subjects to read words aloud as they appear on a computer screen. In visual association tests, subjects must try to remember simple drawings that illogically pair with other objects. Dichotic listening tasks require subjects to use headphones to listen to two different streams of information simultaneously.

Listed in the article “Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease – Neuropsychological Testing,” the ADAS-Cog and CANTAB tests are 11- and 13-part batteries to tests to see if subjects can pay attention, know who and where they are and what time it is, can make plans and decision, and have well-functioning memory.

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