Psychological Screeners for Alzheimer's Disease
- Alzheimer's disease is a progressive form of dementia characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, loss of language abilities, disorientation and personality changes. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, and treatment aims at slowing the progression of symptoms.
- Psychological screening for Alzheimer's disease refers to examinations conducted to assess a person's memory and cognitive abilities. A common psychological screening method is the mini mental state exam (MMSE), which can help distinguish the onset of Alzheimer's disease from depression or from a normal level of forgetfulness due to aging.
- The MMSE, which can be administered in a matter of minutes, covers orientation in time and space, memory, language skills and visuospatial skills, which refers to a person's ability to reproduce a simple geometric pattern. During the MMSE, a person may be asked to repeat phrases, follow simple commands and spell short words in reverse order.
- According to MentalHelp.net, a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease should not be based on MMSE results alone. The MMSE should be considered an initial psychological screening tool.
- Neuropsychological screening tests are more in-depth forms of assessing memory skills and cognitive ability. These may take a number of hours to complete.