Alzheimer's disease diagnosis

These tests are used to diagnose AD or to rule out other medical conditions:

- Mental status testing - measures how great a decline in mental functioning (orientation, memory, language skills) exists

- Neuropsychological testing - assesses mood, thinking and personality

- Magnetic resonance (MR) scan of the brain

- Blood tests - blood counts, vitamin levels, liver and kidney function, mineral balance and thyroid gland function tests

- Positron emission tomography (PET) metabolic or amyloid scanning in some patients

Brain imaging helps to diagnose and understand Alzheimer's disease. For instance:

- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show brain shrinkage (atrophy).

- FDG PET scans can show lower brain metabolism. (FDG is the tracer molecule used to show how well your tissues and organs are working.)

- Amyloid PET scans show higher levels of amyloid protein in the brain.