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Published on: May 9, 2010
by Sandy for Alzheimer’s Support:
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s early is vital for receiving medications to delay symptoms and prolong life. An early diagnosis also gives the patient the opportunity to contribute to many of the decisions that will need to be made later.
There are no definitive tests for Alzheimer’s that can be taken at home. These small home-tests present indications of Alzheimer’s or Dementia but are no substitute for visiting your physician at the first sign of progressive memory loss.
A test that is often given first, is the Clock Drawing Test.
THE CLOCK DRAWING TEST
The person undergoing testing is asked to;
Draw a clock
Put in all the numbers
Set the hands at ten past eleven.
Scoring system for Clock Drawing test (CDT)
There are a number of scoring systems for this test. The Alzheimer’s disease cooperative scoring system is based on a score of five points.
1 point for the clock circle
1 point for all the numbers being in the correct order
1 point for the numbers being in the proper special order
1 point for the two hands of the clock
1 point for the correct time.
A normal score is four or five points.
The test can provide huge amounts of information about general cognitive and adaptive functioning such as memory, how people are able to process information and vision. A normal clock drawing almost always predicts that a person’s cognitive abilities are within normal limits.
The Clock Drawing test does offer specific clues about the area of change or damage.
Research varies on the ability of the Clock Drawing test to differentiate between, for example, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A SIMPLE WORD TEST
This is a simple word test that may help in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It deals with the way in which our brain saves and stores memories. Since some words are learned earlier in childhood and used more frequently in adulthood, certain words will be more difficult for the Alzheimer’s patient to recall. Word association tests such as this seem to work well in detecting early stage Alzheimer’s.
Researchers have found that people with early Alzheimer’s are able to list only 10 to 15 words in contrast to the 20 to 25 words from a healthy individual.
THE SAGE TEST
The Sage Test is one of the latest and most highly recommended tests to be available for downloading and administering at home.
This link will take you to the download site and give full instructions on administering the test.
THE MINI-CLOG TEST
The Mini-Cog test is also a simple but highly recommended test for Alzheimer’s. I do remember that my Mom received this test. I was with her that day at her Doctor’s office and was stunned how poorly she did on this simple test. It has several parts and includes the Clock Drawing Test from the above.
The .pdf file for instructions and scoring can be found at About.com at this link
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