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The Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

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There is not a single test that can identify whether an individual has Alzheimer’s

disease. However, the physician can make judgments based on the symptoms an

individual experiences to determine whether Alzheimer’s disease is the cause. Through

an autopsy, Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed fully and more accurately. The

physician will need information on the complete medical history of the patient, the list of

all the medication the patient is taking, detailed description about mood, behavior,

personality, information about physical complaints or symptoms such as, sudden vision

problems or weaknesses. In order to distinguish this disease from other diseases, the

following examinations and diagnostic tests are done: physical and neurological exams,

neuropsychological testing, and brain imaging, and lab testing.

In a physical and neurological exam, the physician would test the individual for

reflexes, muscle strength, coordination, balance and the ability to see and hear. In lab

testing, the physician may be able to distinguish other conditions, which also cause

problems such as memory loss and confusion. For instance, the physician can eliminate

conditions such as thyroid disorders and any vitamin deficiencies, since they are

susceptible to causing memory loss or confusion.

Furthermore, physicians recommend patients to participate in neuropsychological

testing because it can give greater detail about how their brain functions. However, the

disadvantage of this test is that it is can be time consuming. Brain imaging is also used to

determine specific brain changes are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The most common

brain imaging technologies include ...

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