Early dementia – Characteristics & screening

Dementia is a cognitive state characterized by a group of symptoms and performance problems.

Early detection and treatment is vitally important to arresting or reversing many dementias.  While Alzheimer’s disease and multi-infarct dementia are the cause of the majority of dementia cases, more than 50 possible causes have been identified.  Onset may be slow and insidious or rapid and step-wise, depending on the cause.  Some types of dementia are reversible or at least partially reversible if detected and treated early enough in their course.

The GrayMatters™ Assessment System offers the clinician an affordable, portable, and highly reliable tool for identifying Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in the earliest detectable phase when treatments offer the greatest efficacy.

The Alzheimer’s Association has designed a list of common signs and symptoms to look for (Some apply to Alzheimer’s disease while others apply to various dementing conditions).

  • Recent memory loss that affects job skills.
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation of time and place
  • Poor or decreased judgment
  • Problems with abstract thinking
  • Misplaced things
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Loss of initiative

As noted by Dr. Herman Buschke, MD, Professor of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, memory impairment is usually the earliest detectable sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Some causes of Dementia:

  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Small strokes 
  • Depression 
  • B12 deficiency (chronic absorption problems or decreased absorption in later years)
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Adverse drug interactions 
  • Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease

¹American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry 2003 Annual Meeting symposium.   Designing Brief Alzheimer’s Screening Tests for Use in General Medical Practice.  Available at: www.cmecorner.com/macmcm/AAGP/aagp2003_07.htm. Accessed Sept. 20, 2005


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