Assessing the functioning of the brain is one method of testing for Alzheimer’s disease. Several commonly used cognitive screenings may be used to evaluate someone’s memory, executive functioning, communication abilities, and overall cognitive functioning. These tests are routinely performed in your doctor’s office. These can be extremely useful in determining if there is a problem or just a typical memory hiccup.
The Process of Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease
Because so little is known about Alzheimer’s, no one test can be used to diagnose it. However, there are techniques to assess brain function, and these tests, together with analyzing symptoms and ruling out other probable illnesses, are how physicians typically diagnose Alzheimer’s. Although your primary care physician can identify the condition, psychologists, neurologists, and geriatricians can also diagnose or get a second opinion.
The presence of specific symptoms and the exclusion of alternative causes of dementia are used to diagnose. This entails a complete medical assessment, including medical history, mental status screening, a neurological and physical exam, blood tests, and imaging scans.
Diagnostic Brain Imaging Options Used in Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease
A typical Alzheimer’s disease medical workup involves structural imaging using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). These tests are used primarily to screen out other diseases that may generate symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s but require different treatment.
- CT scanning of the head: CT scanning combines advanced x-ray equipment with powerful computers to generate numerous images or photographs of the inside of the body. Doctors use a CT scan of the brain to check for and rule out alternative causes of dementia, like a stroke or brain tumor.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head: MRI combines a strong magnetic field, radiofrequency, and computers to conjure accurate images of internal body parts. MRI can identify brain abnormalities associated with moderate cognitive impairment (MCI) and can be used to predict which MCI patients have the most potential to have Alzheimer’s disease. MRI may indicate a reduction in the size of distinct regions of the brain in later stages (mainly affecting the temporal and parietal lobes).
- PET scans and PET/CT scans of the head: A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a diagnostic test that utilizes tiny quantities of radioactive material (known as a radiotracer) to diagnose and assess the severity of several illnesses.
Can You See Signs of Alzheimer’s on an MRI?
The most straightforward response is yes. An in-depth answer considers the fact that there are still many studies to be done on this condition. Therefore, it may take more years of innovation before we have an actual test to identify Alzheimer’s disease.
For the time being, however, utilizing an MRI to identify Alzheimer’s is a better alternative.
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