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Cognitive Tests Could Be Key to Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

By | July 13th, 2017

Research has proven that the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s – beta amyloid plaques and tau tangles –  can be present in the brain long before a person shows symptoms. Up until now, a brain imaging scan (like a  PET or MRI) was the only definitive way to detect this early stage of the disease but these scans are so expensive that patients rarely receive them. A new review of over 60 studies has proven that cognitive tests, which are low cost and easy to implement,  can also detect Alzheimer’s in its early stages. Dr. Duke Han, a neuropsychologist at Keck Medicine, University of California, concluded that people who had amyloid plaque in their brains performed worse on neuropsychological tests than those who had no plaque. He also found that if tau protein tangles were present, those patients performed even worse than the people with amyloid plaque.

Previously, researchers believed that there would be no difference in how people with preclinical Alzheimer’s would perform on the tests but this study proves that’s not case. Dr. Han believes these tests could be included in annual check ups for people over 50 to establish a baseline for their cognition, making it easier to detect whether they’re experiencing cognitive decline as they age.

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3 thoughts on “Cognitive Tests Could Be Key to Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

  1. Thank you for letting us read this. I’m 59 and a number of relatives have or had Alzheimer’s and I’d like to know if I’m going to get it. I’m hoping that if I know soon enough it won’t progress as fast. Right now my husband has a form of dementia probably Alzheimer’s as his mother and grandfather had it. We are awaiting test results now.

    1. Hello P, Consult Your Physician – Being Patient does not give medical advice, nor is any information on the site intended to be prescriptive medical advice. If you have any questions about your health or the health of your loved one, please consult your physician for any and all medical-related questions. ~ Thank you.

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