Many people are afraid of finding out that they may get Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia, primarily because there is no treatment. Would you want to know that you won’t recognize your spouse or children and that you won’t be able to take care of yourself? Maybe not, if there was nothing you could do to stop it! Then every slip of the tongue or forgetful moment could cause a panic attack. Would you be able to look forward to your “golden” years? I don’t know if I would. Because most people don’t think about it until they already have full blown symptoms, there isn’t much that can be done. New research is being developed that could detect signs of dementia in patients in their 40s that could allow for preventive changes in diet and exercise that could delay or even prevent the disorder.
One test, a computer screening test, takes only 30 seconds and identifies white matter lesions in the temporal lobe that appear to be related to early signs of dementia. Another is a verbal screening test, dubbed the “Sweet 16” for the 16 questions in the test that appears to be as effective or better than the current standard test the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) which identifies dementia symptoms in older patients allowing for quick and easy detection. There are also Genetic Predisposition Tests that can look at your overall genetic pattern and possible risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Knowing that there are more ways being developed that can identify this dreaded disease and preventive measures you can take means maybe we won’t have to get in a boat and sail off in the sunset to avoid burdening our loved ones.