Importance of Early Treatment Dementia Test to Identify Mild Memory Problems

Encouraged to seek early treatment dementia tests, now identifies the subtle symptoms of dementia or memory problems. This allows an individual to seek medical intervention early.

This is so important because most family members have a tendency to ignore or deny that their family member has a problem beyond the mild stages. Many times, family members do not seek help for their family member until the problems with memory or dementia are beyond the early stages.

Here are some early signs of dementia that you may want to be aware of:

  • Memory problems such as forgetfulness
  • Word finding problems or a nonsensical word substitution
  • Increased difficulty understanding written or verbal communication
  • Unable to recall things, such as names of TV stars, who is president etc.
  • May experience being disoriented at times.
  • May repeat things often and present it as if was a new topic.
  • Avoids changes and dislikes any type of challenge.
  • Exhibits poor judgment, has difficulty making decisions.
  • May forget how to use an everyday item such as the stove or washing machine.
  • Math becomes more difficult
  • Routines such as paying the bills become difficult.

It is sad and unfortunate, because early medical intervention and treatment may affect the progression of some dementias. I think that most individuals do not realize that there are many different types of dementia and each type exhibits symptoms differently.

More on Importance of Early Treatment Dementia Tests Identifies Mild Memory Problems

On First Visit

Let me explain to you about the basic test for dementia or memory problems, given by health care professionals to individuals suspected of having some form of dementia.

The Mini- Mental State Examination (MMSE), also known as the Folstein test, has been widely used since 1975. It is the screening tool most often used to determine if any further testing will be necessary in diagnosing dementia. But, there has been a weakness identified with the MMSE. This screening tool is not very good at identifying individuals with mild memory problems. Especially for those individuals that had received more education.

The research professors in the geriatric department at St. Louis University identified this weakness and developed a simple, more sensitive test than the MMSE. The goal of the team was to develop a test that a health care provider could use to identify mild memory problems on the first visit. This is important so that treatment can begin as early as possible.

The St. Louis University Mental Status Exam, also known as SLUMS, is being recognized as a screening tool for early stage or mild memory problems. It is a short 30 point test that includes recalling facts, naming animals, doing math problems and drawing a clock and specific time of day on that clock. The tasks required on the SLUMS test are more challenging than those on the MMSE, thus the higher educated individual is not able to hide or over compensate for their weaknesses.

While both tests clearly are able to determine if dementia may be a possible diagnosis that requires further testing, the SLUMS test can help health care professionals make that determination on the first visit.

The MMSE does require a routine followup screening to determine if there is a decline in scoring.

The importance of early treatment dementia tests identifies mild memory problems on first visit. An early diagnosis is an important first step to effective treatment.

Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. Diane has developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options. You will find extensive helpful information that will be continually updated. Please visit Diane’s web site and learn more about treatment dementia. Sign up for “The Caring Advocate” her free newsletter and take advantage of a complimentary e-course Advocating For Yourself and Others.


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