What Are Some Tests to Diagnose Alzheimer's?


Quick Answer

Some tests used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease include neurological tests, lab tests and mental status testing, according to Mayo Clinic. Other tests include neuropsychological testing and brain imaging.

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One test for Alzheimer's is a physical exam that tests reflexes, muscle tone, hearing and sight, balance and coordination, and ability to get up and move around a room, explains Mayo Clinic. Blood tests may also rule out other causes of confusion and memory loss, such as vitamin deficiencies and thyroid disorders.

Neuropsychological testing is also possible when diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, which can take several hours to complete, claims Mayo Clinic. This type of testing is used when the patient may be in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's. These tests also determine the patient's ability to make decisions and manage finances.

Brain imaging is useful for suspected Alzheimer's, as it can pinpoint abnormalities in the brain, states Mayo Clinic. Trauma, strokes and tumors all leave visible signs and might cause cognitive changes. This imaging includes magnetic resonance imaging, which involves a high-powered magnet, computerized tomography, which uses X-rays, and positron emission tomography, which uses a slightly radioactive form of glucose. Some positron emission tomography techniques may also check for the protein deposits that indicate Alzheimer's.

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