Early Tests for Alzheimers
Usually a battery of psychological and neurological tests will be done because some symptoms which appear to be Alzheimer’s could be related to another medical condition altogether.
The test most often used for Alzheimer’s is the MMSE. The Mini Mental State Examination. This is a test for actual cognitive thinking. The questions are simple and should cause no problem for the patient.
Copyright — The mini-mental state examination was originally distributed free, but the current copyright holders are Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR) who have the only permission to include or reproduce an entire test or scale in any publication (including dissertations and theses) or on any website “
Some physicians still give the MMSE tests and there are other less detailed tests available as well as distinguishing many of the Signs and Symptoms that indicate dementia.
I have many articles about SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS which are often more enlightening than an actual test. It’s only natural to want a definitive answer about Alzheimer’s for your loved one, but often the patient will be diagnosed by a multitude of symptoms and changes to their daily behavior rather than a single particular test.
If you are using “do it yourself” tests and quizzes, be sure to keep the person comfortable and relaxed, assuring them that there is no right or wrong answer.
One of the shorter tests is the Clock Drawing Test (CDT) In a related post I mentioned Alzheimer’s patients and the issues they have with telling time.
By mid-stage Alzheimer’s dementia, the person is unable to tell time by the hands on a clock. They can read a digital clock but don’t understand how to tell time by hands on a clock.
If you recall learning to tell time as a child, it was no easy matter. This test is on the same theme and is useful as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The CDT has been shown to lack sensitivity for mild cognitive impairment, though.
The person undergoing testing is asked to;
Draw a clock
Put in all the numbers
Set the hands at ten past eleven.
Scoring system for Clock Drawing test (CDT)
There are a number of scoring systems for this test. The Alzheimer’s disease cooperative scoring system is based on a score of five points.
1 point for the clock circle
1 point for all the numbers being in the correct order
1 point for the numbers being in the proper special order
1 point for the two hands of the clock
1 point for the correct time.
A normal score is four or five points.
The test can provide huge amounts of information about general cognitive and adaptive functioning such as memory, how people are able to process information and vision. A normal clock drawing almost always predicts that a person’s cognitive abilities are within normal limits.
The clock Drawing test does offer specific clues about the area of change or damage.
Research varies on the ability of the Clock Drawing test to differentiate between, for example, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But those with dementia generally begin to notice problems with their sense of time early on in the illness.