As with many conditions, early recognition and diagnosis of dementia are key to managing symptoms and devising a treatment strategy. Understanding what to look for can encourage a person to receive the necessary cognitive testing for a proper diagnosis and receive the best treatment.
Symptoms of dementia include:
Signs that an individual may have dementia:
While each patient is unique in how they present and manage their symptoms, neurologists use the clinical dementia rating (CDR) scale to establish the severity of a patient’s dementia and track the progression or regression of the patient’s cognitive health. This scale contains 12 categories, each of which is tested and scored. Each category focuses on a different cognitive function and carries a score between 0 and 6 (some categories have a maximum score of 4 or 5). The total of all test scores represents a patient’s overall likelihood to have dementia. The scale is as follows:
The various categories of the CDR include:
Without a baseline cognitive test, it can be challenging to diagnose patients that are in the mild to moderate categories of dementia. Patients that are 55 or older or patients that present early dementia symptoms should regularly undergo some form of cognitive testing to monitor their cognitive health. Common cognitive tests include:
By using baseline testing, neurologists can establish whether a patient needs further cognitive development and testing. By digging deeper into each cognitive test and expanding upon the areas of need, doctors can map out the areas of the brain that are creating these dementia symptoms and formulate testing/treatment strategies to exercise these specific cognitive abilities.
This process forms the mold for an individual’s treatment plan that effectively manages (and, ideally, improves) dementia symptoms.
A key part of identifying a patient’s cognitive state is utilizing the latest studies or compiling your own research. QuesGen offers complete solutions for data collection, institutional training, data hosting, design, multi-site implementation, and comprehensive support.
Contact our team to find out more about our clinical data management solutions.