Alzheimer’s Disease: Diagnosis And Treatment

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment


There is no definitive test for Alzheimer’s disease. It is usually diagnosed based on information from the patient and family.

Doctors also conduct a mental status examination, using a series of questions that are designed to test for short– and long–term memory, the ability to learn and remember new information, mental functioning, and reasoning ability. This may include writing a full sentence, remembering and repeating a short list of words, and reciting the day and date.

Blood tests, CT scanning, MRI, or other tests may be needed to check for other diseases that may appear similar to Alzheimer’s.


There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment is primarily based on controlling the symptoms and ensuring patient safety.

Certain drugs (e.g., tacrine, donepezil, and memantine) may slow the progressive loss of memory and mental function. However, these drugs may have only a small effect and are not effective in all patients.

Ginkgo biloba may provide a modest benefit in patients with early, mild disease.

Additionally, mental and physical exercise may help slow the disease process.

Patient safety is an important aspect of treatment. As the disease progresses, patients should avoid driving. Eventually, most daily activities should be monitored, particularly cooking and traveling outside the house. In most cases, nursing home admittance or full–time home care ultimately becomes necessary.


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