Answers to Common Alzheimer’s Disease Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s disease and how to live with and manage the condition.

What about psychological testing?

Dr. Larry Lawhorne discusses how psychological testing is used to diagnose Alzheimer’s. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

One of the most important tests we can do is formal neuropsychological testing, which takes a few hours. This testing gives an idea of someone’s basic intellect, their memory and other thinking functions. It also tells you more about mood, depression and anxiety.

Neuropsychological testing reveals a person’s strengths. Do they remember something better if they hear it or if they see it? Or do they need to both hear it and see it? 

As a person gets older, they may experience benign forgetfulness and a little bit of depression, especially if they are losing loved ones and friends. All of this combined can look like Alzheimer's disease. Drilling down to the root of the issue may reveal that it’s not dementia but depression or loneliness or boredom or fearfulness. You don’t want to miss Alzheimer's disease or dementia, but you also don’t want to characterize somebody as having it if they have something else that’s treatable.

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Source: Larry Lawhorne, MD, Wright State Physicians; National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s Association