One of the most significant causes of dementia in the modern world is Alzheimer’s. Yet even though many people are suffering from this terrible disease, there are many challenges in diagnosing Alzheimer’s dementia. Often, this is because many of the common symptoms that show up early tend to correspond with other disorders within the neurodegenerative disorder family.
But as technology evolves, so too do the diagnostic capabilities and treatments available to help diagnose this condition. Everything from PET neuroimaging to the use of biomarkers is now being studied as potential diagnostic tools to help make diagnosing Alzheimer ‘s-based dementia easier and more effective.
One of the greatest tools medical professionals who deal with this disease have is an understanding of this ever-changing field. Below, we look at the new diagnostic tools that could be used for assessing memory impairments in the future.
With all the technology and knowledge we already have, it might be difficult for even medical professionals to understand why Alzheimer’s dementia goes unchecked. Many variables contribute to this on top of the ones we mentioned above, such as the wide range of symptoms and the fact that it is often confused with other conditions. As you age, there is naturally some decline in cognitive functions.
There have been plenty of efforts recently to figure out a definition and standard value system to define the parameters. However, it is still quite hard to determine early on whether an individual starts to develop Alzheimer’s dementia or is simply aging. After all, diagnosing cognitive decline often requires the identification of clinical signs and symptoms.
That, coupled with other tests, such as physical examinations and the comprehensive medical history of the individual and the family, are all compiled together to determine whether the person could be suffering from this debilitating disease.
Some of these tests include neurological and psychiatric evaluations as well as blood and other bodily fluids being tested. Though none of these are set routines, they could potentially become standard in the future.
Here\’s a look at several of these techniques in detail:
Though there are more procedural biomarkers such as heart rate and blood pressure when it comes to diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, the more intuitive biomarker is in regards to the individual’s genetic makeup. When utilizing biomarkers to diagnose this disease, the studies have focused more on the cerebral spinal fluid to isolate the genetic markers associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, right now, the use of this type of technology, such as CSF MP ET biomarkers, hasn’t quite evolved enough not to be invasive and cost-effective. Before this can become standard practice, factors like the methods of collection, processing of these samples, and storage have to be standardized and optimized to ensure effective final results.
That being said, a working group has worked to figure out how to utilize biomarkers more effectively.
Neuroimaging is currently being used extensively, especially in the United States and Canada, to detect Alzheimer’s disease earlier. Typically they consist of both a PET and an MRI scan to detect lesions or hemorrhages. The information collected through these techniques is, in some places, being pulled for multiple nations to use so that they can create a better system of diagnosing the disease. Data sharing is crucial for global collaborations and optimized platforms are needed in this area.
These reports record electrical activity within the brain that signals that there is underlying brain function. This means that they can find abnormalities in wavelengths that could potentially identify symptoms of dementia due to Alzheimer’s. There are many different varieties of this technology. All of them are currently being studied in several cases to see their effectiveness in the diagnostic process concerning Alzheimer’s.
When it comes to actual treatment, there are also a few techniques that could eventually become more widely used by medical professionals. One of these is transcranial magnetic stimulation. This is a noninvasive therapeutic practice that uses magnetic fields to help revitalize nerve cells within the brain. This could potentially show promise in regards to treating Alzheimer’s disease as well as other neurodegenerative diseases.
Clinical Support Systems
The only way that there is going to be a streamlined process when it comes to diagnosing this disease early is through the accumulation of information in one place. There are several aspects to this, including clinical support systems and AI applications like Cognes. These types of tools can help reduce the expense on doctors and hospitals and are also designed to be scalable so that as your patient count grows, you can handle more incoming data without adding manual work.
When you look at clinical support systems, these allow for computerized alerts and patient data reports, and everything can be found in one place. Usually, these systems are outfitted with an AI system so that there is better cross-reference capability and a quicker response when it comes to diagnosing the disease. Some of these systems are outfitted by a third-party company that works with you to ensure the best results for your patients.
These are just some of the tools that are being investigated to help streamline and advance the technological aspects of diagnosing Alzheimer’s dementia earlier and more efficiently. Though none of these are yet in place as a standard, it seems that through the studies that are being done, they could be available in the near future. This gives those who treat this disease hope that they will help their patients better and quicker, which is amazing.