Alzheimer's Tests

Currently, genetic tests can determine whether you have specific genes that put you at greater risk for Alzheimer's. But the tests can't say for sure whether you'll get the disease, or even whether you currently have it.

There's no single test used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease. Rather, a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is based on:

Medical and family history: This includes a thorough review of your cognitive and behavioral issues and changes, as well as your lifestyle choices (diet, nutrition, and exercise habits), medications, and any medical problems.

Input from family and friends: These people will be asked about changes in your daily functions and behavior.

Cognitive tests: Certain tests can be used to measure cognitive performance and changes over time in your memory, problem solving, attention, and counting and language skills.

Your doctor may also conduct a number of different medical tests - such as blood tests, urine tests, and brain imaging scans - to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as other forms of dementia, stroke, or a brain tumor.

Researchers are currently investigating a number of different tests - such as neuroimaging or blood tests that detect Alzheimer's-related proteins - that may one day help detect Alzheimer's disease early on, before it truly takes hold.