Screening for Alzheimer’s disease: this simple test can give you a first indication

Screening for Alzheimer's disease: this simple test can give you a first indication

There is a completely simple way to detect the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a French neurologist. A test that involves memorizing five words.

It is estimated that 1.2 million French people are currently affected by Alzheimer’s disease. A degenerative disease that affects memory, language and autonomy, but currently has no treatment. On the other hand, it remains possible to slow its progression, provided the disease is detected early.

The five-word test in practice

For this, among the test panel in place today, there is a fairly simple exam in Europe, developed by Professor Bruno Dubois, neurologist, and director of the Institute of Memory and Alzheimer’s Disease (IM2A) at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, the five-word test.

Concretely, the person who wishes to receive an opinion on the possibility of incipient Alzheimer’s is given a list of five words to read, which they must attach to a category (an instrument, a flower, a piece of clothing, etc.), before memorize them. Then, the doctor turns over the sheet on which the list is written, and asks the patient to repeat this list immediately, then at different later phases of the exchange.

Only memory is evaluated

Please note, however, that this 5-word test, which can be carried out in just 10 minutes and can be reproduced at home, does not give you a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, but indicates whether new, more in-depth tests are necessary. “This test is specifically concerned with the exploration of Memorynotably episodic memory” specifies Professor Marc Verny, neurologist and geriatrician, in the columns of Current wife. So, if the patient is unable to remember the list, neuropsychological tests may be prescribed.

“This test has the advantage of making it possible to interpret the type of memory disorder to differentiate, for example, a patient suffering from depression of those suffering from early Alzheimer’s. But this test does not evaluate other cognitive sectors such as executive functions” continues Professor Verny.

Unfortunately, as simple as it is to implement, it seems that it is not uniformly offered by all doctors. That being said, if you have a question about your own memory, or that of a parent, the most appropriate reaction is to discuss it with the attending physician, to consider, if necessary, treatment as early as possible.

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