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Cognitive assessment tests and brain imaging, such as MRI, are used to detect the signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. But a June 2021 study from Wayne State University demonstrated that people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia may notice changes in their thinking and memory for months or even years before these tests can detect a problem.
“Subjective cognitive decline, defined as a perceived worsening of cognitive ability not noted on clinical assessment, may be an early indicator of dementia,” noted the research team, headed by gerontology professor Jessica Damoiseaux, Ph.D. “Brain alterations that underlie the experience of decline could reflect the progression of incipient dementia and may emerge before cognitive assessment is sensitive enough to detect a deficit.”
Yet studies show that many people put off reporting symptoms. They prefer to be in denial, chalking up what’s happening to “just growing older.” Family might notice changes, yet be reluctant to bring it up. The Alzheimer’s Association even found that some doctors fail to share a suspected diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease with patients!
Experts agree that when a person has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, early diagnosis is important. Knowing what’s going on allows for early planning and the best possible treatment and care. It also allows the doctor to rule out treatable causes of memory changes. And it allows the person with dementia to be as fully involved as possible in making their own care decisions.
A memory care community can be the right choice for people living with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Learn how Western Slope Memory Care supports well-being in an appropriate environment that provides mental stimulation and promotes a sense of independence for each resident.
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