What is a memory screening?
A memory screening is a simple and safe “healthy brain check-up” that tests memory and other thinking skills. It is not used to diagnose any particular illness and does not replace consultation with a physician or other clinician.
Why are memory screenings important?
They are a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. Memory problems could be caused by a number of medical conditions, including vitamin deficiencies, thyroid issues, and depression, as well as dementia-related illnesses including Alzheimer’s.
Some memory problems–such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems– can be readily treated. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In general, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier it is to treat one of these conditions.
Early detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may afford a person the opportunity to take advantage of treatments that may slow the changes in memory and thinking skills or participate in a clinical trial.
Why get a memory screening?
As stated above, some memory problems can be readily treated once diagnosed. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, early diagnosis can improve one’s quality of life. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can learn more about the disease, including available and emerging medical treatments; get counseling and other social services support in their community; address legal, financial and other planning issues; and have more of a say in decision-making. Caregivers and other family members can take advantage of community services, such as support groups, which can help them feel better–physically and emotionally. They can discuss treatment, future care and other issues with their loved ones, rather than having to make decisions on their own.
It is very important to identify the disease or problem that is causing memory loss. That is why a person should follow up for a complete checkup with a qualified healthcare professional.