Page 32 - Scene Magazine 45-09 September 2020
P. 32

  For Your Health
   Screening Tests Used for Dementia
If you or a loved one is experiencing cognitive challenges it is a good idea to visit your physician sooner than later. They can help to identify if your cognitive concerns are the result of a treatable condition such as medication or UTI. If so, your concerns may be alleviated by treating the cause
and eliminating the cognitive condition. In some cases, however, a positive dementia diagnosis may be the result. A major benefit of an early dementia diagnosis is that start- ing treatment early is far more effective in managing symptoms and delaying progres- sion of the disease. Dr. Andrew Rosenzweig presents the following summary of several of the screening options. They are not a substitute for a full diagnostic evaluation.
AD8 Informant Interview is an 8-item questionnaire. Instead of the patient being questioned, the patient’s informant (usually a spouse, child, or non-family caregiver) is asked to assess whether there have been changes in the past few years in certain areas of cogni- tion and functioning. These include mem- ory, orientation, executive function, and interest in activities. The AD8 has a yes or no format and takes only three minutes or so to complete.
functioning, language and naming abili- ties, and visual-spatial abilities. There’s no time limit, but most people finish in about 15 minutes.
Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) is completed at home and then brought to a physician for review. It evaluates several different areas including memory, orientation, executive
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is widely used and reliable in detecting Alzheimer’s disease. Taking about 10 minutes to complete, the MMSE measures aspects of cognition that include orientation, word recall, attention and calculation, language abilities, and visual construction.
Mini-Cog is a rapid Alzheimer’s screening test that takes only 3-5 minutes to administer. It combines 3-item recall with the clock-drawing test. Reports of use have been positive but more evidence is needed to recommend its use as an accurate screening test.
 Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a relatively simple, brief test that helps health professionals determine quickly whether a person has abnormal cognitive function and may need a more thorough diagnostic workup for Alzhei- mer’s disease. It may predict dementia in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and it has been shown to identify cognitive problems in people with Parkin- son’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
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Saint Louis University Mental Status Exam (SLUMS) is an 11-item Alzhei- mer’s screening test that is especially good at identifying people with milder cognitive problems that don’t yet rise to the level of dementia. It has been studied with hundreds of Veterans and includes items such as the naming of animals (sim- ilar to a verbal fluency test) and recogni- tion of geometric figures.
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Brief Alzheimer’s Screening Test is
a short screening and asks the test taker to repeat three words immediately after hearing them. Two tasks intended to distract from those three words are then performed. Finally, the person is asked to remember and recite the three words from the beginning.
Seven Minute Screening test has been shown to be effective in identifying mild cognitive impairment. It involves en- hanced cued recall, orientation questions, verbal fluency, and the clock test.
Remember that screening tests are just that – tools that help identify possible concerns and determine if more complete testing would be appropriate. If a screen- ing test indicates a potential problem, you should be fully evaluated by a physician.

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