Alzheimer Testing: Alzheimer Smell Test
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that affects the cognitive functioning of older adults leaving them with memory loss, inability to process thoughts appropriately and even disoriented. People who suffer from Alzheimer’s go through several stages of the disease.
In the early stages they may have difficulty with memory but in the later stages will have difficulty with physical functioning and the ability to communicate. This is one of the more common forms of senile dementia often called senile because it is more often found in older adults.
Physicians use several methods to help determine if people are suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer”s. Because the early signs can often be hidden for a short time, and because early treatment can delay the progression of the disease, early diagnosis is important.
There is no single test that is used to diagnose Alzheimers disease. And, because the symptoms of early disease mimic memory lapses common in most older adults as they age, the symptoms can be masked. There are several different types of Alzheimer testing that has proven effective in the early diagnosis of the condition.
In Mini-Mental State Examinations physicians use a small battery of questions to evaluate the ability of the patient to process information and communicate the results. When people show distress or concern over a lack of ability to do these processes quickly it can be one sign that they are suffering from early stages of Alzheimers disease.
For those adults who are currently healthy but have family members experiencing the symptoms Alzheimer testing can include genetic testing. There are two different types of genetic testing one predictive and the other to test for susceptibility. Three different types of rare genetic disorders are predictive of the development of Alzheimers disease and there are three forms of one gene that will predict susceptibility to the disease.
There are several ethical and moral questions about doing these tests, as well as cost factors and the psychological stress that can occur when patients realize what their future holds. On the other hand, people who know that Alzheimer’s is possibility are able to get diagnosed earlier and improve the length of time they are able to function appropriately because of treatment.
Two other Alzheimer tests use urine to look for byproducts and biochemical markers. The first test that is currently being used is for diagnostic purposes and the second, still in production, is used predictively.
One of the newer Alzheimer tests is the Alzheimer smell test. In a recent study published from Chicago’s Rush Presbyterian Hospital the lead researcher Robert Wilson found that a decreased sense of smell could indicate the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In a similar study the replicated the results of the other researchers found that smells are one of the first memories that are lost in the early stages of Alzheimers. Although, lead researchers are quick to point out that as people age there are other reasons for a loss of smell and any issues that are discovered at home should be evaluated more fully in the doctors office.
Alzheimer tests are varied and often help to provide early diagnosis and therefore treatment to increase the time available to patients without loss of cognitive functioning.
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