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How is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?  

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Identification of the disorder during its initial stages requires a high degree of suspicion, as the early symptoms can be mistaken to be those normally associated with aging. Initial diagnosis is based on the symptoms and signs observed along with a positive family history of Alzheimer’s disease.

The doctor may ask the affected individual to perform certain simple tasks to assess the ability to perform them. Certain standardized tests to assess the capability of the individual to perform certain daily activities such as remembering phone numbers, cooking, driving or simple addition or subtractions are also utilized by the doctor. Another test known as Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) may also be advised to evaluate the normal brain functions.1

Other additional tests such as blood tests, CT and MRI scans may be advised to either rule out or confirm the presence of other underlying disorders.2


1. Cummings JL, Frank JC, Cherry D, Kohatsu ND, Kemp B, Hewett L, et al. Guidelines for Managing Alzheimer's Disease: Part I. Assessment. Am Fam Physician. 2002; 65(11): 2263–2272.

2. MedlinePlus. Alzheimer’s disease. [homepage on Internet]. Bethesda, MD: U.S. National Library of Medicine; [updated 2006 May 16; cited 2008 Jan 20]. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000760.htm