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News

Early Alzheimer

Duke University Pratt School Of Engineering : 06 January, 2007  (Technical Article)
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can give patients and their families more care and treatment options. Although companies aggressively market screening tests for Alzheimer’s, an expert says a complete physical and neurological exam is the best test for the disease.

Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, early detection and treatment can improve cognitive function and quality of life for many patients. Dr. James Burke, director of the Clinical CORE of the Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke University Medical Center, says genetic testing can measure risk and susceptibility to Alzheimer’s, but doesn’t indicate whether the disease is actually present. “ Despite the fact that there are a number of companies selling tests measuring markers in the blood or spinal fluid, the best test is still a history, a physical examination and a brief neuropsychological test. This has the best ability to distinguish what’s normal aging from what’s pathologic aging. It has the ability to look for other factors, such as depression or stroke.” Burke says families can help by reporting signs of age-related cognitive problems, and that early detection can expand care options. “As a memory problem progresses, it’s likely that there is ongoing nerve loss. So if we can intervene early, that would be the opportunity when we have the best chance of functional recovery.” I’m Cabell Smith for MedMinute.
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