Testing for Alzheimer’s disease

Professor Kenneth Kosik explains that Alzheimer's disease is traditionally diagnosed by a physician taking a history and physical. In the near future, neuroimaging will provide an accurate diagnosis.

Testing for Alzheimer’s disease can be a little bit difficult but the approaches are improving very, very rapidly. The best way we have now to actually test remains to do the classical work that physicians have done for a long time – that is to simply get a history and physical. From a history and physical, that is a history of slow and insidious decline in cognition (and when I say ‘slow’ I mean over years not over weeks), if you begin to get that history then suspicion rises greatly. But to move from the point of suggestive to actually being quite certain that the disease is Alzheimer’s, one needs some laboratory testing, one needs to do a scan, and then we can get upwards of 90% probability that the person has Alzheimer’s disease. One more point is that in the very near future, probably within the next year perhaps, we, as a field, have developed the ability to actually image in living people the senile plaques. Diagnosis will probably move from the 90% level of certainty up to really approaching 100%.

alzheimer, alzheimer's, accurate diagnosis, senile plaques, physicians, neuroimaging, kenneth, kosic

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