The long-awaited test for Alzheimer’s disease, developed by Eli Lilly & Co, has finally been approved by the USDA. This test will enable physicians to detect protein build up in the brain, and will instrumental in find out whether or not patients have Alzheimer’s at the earliest signs of memory loss.
For all practical purposes, this new approved method is a PET scan, and when positive, can work to help doctors not only detect Alzheimer’s but also will work in the treatment and development of drugs for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
In the past, there have been no specific tests related to detecting Alzheimer’s disease other than the physician conducting a complete physical and neurological examination. In fact, there is no physician that specializes in Alzheimer’s disease but the primary care physician will refer the patient to specialists such as a neuropsychologist, psychiatrist or a neurologist for further testing.
However, here are a list of tests that are conducted in order to determine whether or not a patient is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or not:
#1: Medical and Medication History
Past injuries, illnesses and surgeries can provide a lot of information in order to identify causes for Alzheimer’s diseases. For example, if the person in question suffered a head injury in the past, it might be a plausible cause as to why they are experiencing memory loss.
Another important aspect is to find out if patients are suffering from side effects or allergies to any types of medication as this will not only keep doctors aware of what drugs to avoid but also it will also explain any overdose of medical interaction that is causing memory or reasoning loss in the patient.
#2: Mental Status, Neuropsychological and blood tests
Several tests are usually administered to check for one’s cognitive skills and ability to remember past events while there will be others to check for depression or mental illnesses. One reason why this test is so important is because almost 75% of patients that end up with Alzheimer’s can’t remember past events along with being unable to retain new information.
#3: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Using radio waves, this test creates a 3D image of your brain in order for the doctor to check for abnormalities that might be the root cause for the symptoms that patients might be experiencing.
#4: PET Scans
As mentioned earlier, this is the latest (and most accurate) method to test if a patient is likely to have Alzheimer’s. Doctors usually inject patients with radioactive material (going by the brand name Amyvid) and which will tag amyloid protein that is present in the brain, and which indicates the patient’s likelihood of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in the future.