What are the names of all the tests that can be given to diagnose the different dementia's?

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So far, my 86 yr old Momma has only taken the test called a "Mini Test" which I smile about since her first name is Minnie. This coming June she will be re-evaluated to see how her Dementia is progressing.

Does anyone know the different names of the tests that her Neurologist may be giving her to determine what kind of Dementia she has? I never really realized before that there were all kinds or branches of Dementia until I was involved in other support groups on the internet.

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I should also say that the stages of dementia really don't mean much. People can have symptoms from more than one stage at the same time, or display the behaviors out of order. It's human nature to want a high degree of specificity and accuracy, but nature doesn't work that way.

If you want to know more about what's coming at you, there are a lot of articles on this site about dementia, a lot of very experienced caregivers. I also recommend Teepa Snow's videos on Youtube.
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A private autopsy can run a good $10,000 or more. Regionality has a lot to do with pricing as well, but it's not covered by any insurance and is 100% out of pocket paid.

My mother's country doctor didn't do anything with her other than the mini-mental. He came to the conclusion of Alzheimers pretty much without any diagnostic information. In the end, it doesn't matter one bit because there is a point where you're a person completely dependent on others for everything.

My irritation with this horse-vet is that he did not refer her to a neurologist. He did not recommend a geriatric specialist. He put her on Aricept, showed her the door, and there was no follow up from anybody anywhere.

When she began exhibiting hallucinations, paranoia, and rage, he put her on Ativan which NOT to be used with dementia patients over 70, which she was. Fool.

By not seeing a dementia specialist in the early period, mom was not prepared herself for what was coming. She was not offered therapies that could have maybe helped. I had to step in when it got bad, mover her 1800 miles to be near me and see the right doctors. She could have had 5-10 more independent years if early intervention had happened. We'll just never know.

Her symptoms and behaviors are a lot more consistent with Fronto-Temporal & Vascular. She is not following the Alzheimer's progression at all.

Seeing the right doctors is waaaaay more important than the paper cognitive tests a family practice GP might give.
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Sunnygirl1, yes my cousin's wife has a Neurologist and a team of doctor's I'm told that helps her out. She has her days and nights mixed up so she sleeps most of the day and is up and about during the nights. I have no idea what kind of Dementia she has, all I know is she is in stage 4 and the whole situation is quite sad and very scary!!!

My Momma has a Neurologist too. But Momma must be in the early stages of Dementia for the specialist never mentioned any type of medication for her. All she said was that Momma was to do crossword puzzles and mind exercises daily and it would be nice if Momma was more physically active....but she refuses to do any of that. That is all I know. Sometime in June Momma will be re-evaluated to see how her Dementia progressed. I guess I'm at a wait and see stage now......
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Lyndee, I think we all get scared when we think about how this condition takes the person we once knew away. I think we find comfort in sharing our experiences and hoping that one day there will be a treatment or cure. Sometimes, I think that I think about it too much. Don't hesitate to come here and post your feelings though. It helps to share.

Does your cousin's wife have a doctor who is monitoring her? Some people do not seek tests to determine what is causing the dementia. They accept that it's Alzheimers, Frontal Lobe or Vascular and just treat the symptoms of dementia as it comes.

My cousin was diagnosed with Vascular mixed with Alzheimers at age 62! She saw a Neurologist and had MRI, etc. I'm still not sure though and am making plans to have her brain autopsied to get a definite diagnosis. I'm doing it for medical confirmation for the family, due to her early onset. I don't think most people do this though.
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An autopsy is the only way to really know what kind of dementia anyone had.

Doctors make the call based on symptoms and behaviors, sometimes imaging. It's more important to know in the early days. Lewy Body is treated very differently than Alzheimers.

One diagnostic tool is the SLUMPS test. A lot of them are very similar. Can you pay bills, balance your bank account, follow a recipe, be safe at a stove, understand medication instructions, tell time, aware of the present, check general confusion levels, spatial awareness, etc. They don't pop out a definitive statement of the type of dementia or stage.

A neurologist would be a big help to you to understand what's going on.

The OTs and Doctor put the pieces together and see what most closely aligns to the situation.
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My cousins' wife has stage 4 Dementia. She still knows who everyone is, but is totally oblivious to the fact that her husband, my cousin, had passed away two February's ago....she continues to think he's upstairs or outside and she is always telling her kids to go get him. I also heard other stories too about how she would break windows just to go outside to "go home". My cousin's wife is in her mid to late 70's....not nearly as old as my Momma. The things she is going through and the things that her children and grandchildren are going through scares me to death!!! That is why I've been asking so many questions about Dementia, names of the different tests to determine what stage of Dementia a person is in and so forth.

Thank you all for putting up with me and for putting up with my repeated questions and endless worry. Lyndee
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I think you might get some answers about this by some who have a lot of experience. I know just a little bit.

I think that the Neurologists do a series of tests to determine what is causing the dementia, including physical exam, neuropsychological evaluation, MRI, notice of the patient's behavior, etc. There are certain physical and behavioral traits that are common to some diseases, more so than in others. Sometimes, it's a process of elimination.

Sometimes, the diagnosis is dementia, but of an unknown cause. The patient's history, exam and tests, try to narrow it down though.

Here's a good article on the various tests:
http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_steps_to_diagnosis.asp
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Google "mini mental" and "mini cog" for the various methods of testing.
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