Several types of testing, including brain scans and cognitive tests such as a mini-mental state examination, are used to diagnose dementia, according to MedicineNet. A mini-mental state examination tests a patient's ability to draw a complex shape and follow commands. It also tests memory recall and attention span.
While the mini-mental state test is the most commonly known and widely used test, other cognitive tests used to diagnose dementia include the abbreviated mental test score, the 6-CIT and the memory impairment screen, explains Sheehan in a study published in Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders. The abbreviated mental test score is a short exam of a patient's concentration, recall and attention skills. The 6-CIT tests the patient's memory skills regarding the correct month and year, remembering a given address and stating the months of the year in reverse order.
Dementia is a term that includes multiple types of diseases and brain injuries, with Alzheimer's disease the most well-known, states the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. Other forms of dementia include primary progressive aphasia, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Dementia is not caused by aging but rather by diseases that alter how the brain functions, explains Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. Treatment for dementia varies based on the type diagnosed, but in most cases, dementia is a progressive disease that has no cure, reports the Alzheimer's Association.