If you often forget something important, like your shopping list, home addresses, or anniversary date, then you may worry about a possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss as we age is a common thing, but it may also be the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
In order to prove whether you actually develop Alzheimer’s is simply by running a series of Alzheimer’s test to get a clear diagnosis. You should know that there is no single test that can prove you have Alzheimer’s.
Mental status tests
Mini-mental state exam (MMSE) and Mini-cog are two commonly used Alzheimer’s Test. They are designed to evaluate ability and memory of a person to solve simple problems.
1. Mini-mental state exam (MMSE)
The MMSE consists of a series of questions to test someone mental skills.
During the mini-cog, a person is asked to complete two/three tasks:
First, remember three object (for example: apple, chair, and house), and a few minutes later repeat the names.
Second, draw a clock with all the 12 numbers in the right places
Third, repeat the name of objects from the first part of the test.
During the neurological examination, your doctor will carefully diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, and the possibility of brain disorders besides Alzheimer’s, including brain tumors, fluid accumulation in the brain, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or other diseases that can impair thinking and memory.
This test will provide additional information about your mental function compared with others of the same age, and also identify patterns of change associated with different types of Alzheimer’s.
Brain imaging (neuroimaging)
The next method to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease is neuroimaging or brain imaging. It using high-tech equipment to record images of changes in the brain and pinpoint visible abnormalities.
Neuroimaging technologies include:
1. Computerized tomography (CT)
In order to get a CT scan, you need to lie on a table that will slide into a small chamber. Inside, your body will be emitted x-rays from different angles. A computer will read this information and then create cross-sectional images of your brain.
2. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Unlike CT, MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio wave. It also required you to lie on a table and then slides into a tube-shaped MRI machine. MRI are painless, but some people may disturbed by the noise when it working to produce images.
3. Positron emission tomography (PET).
During a PET scan, you’ll be injected in a vein with a tracer. This tracer may be a special form of glucose (sugar). A scanner will track the tracer’s flow through the brain, while you are lying on a table. The tracer will show which parts of your brain aren’t functioning well. The newer version of PET is even able to detect your brain level of tangles and plaques.