We have reached the final installment in our 5-Part Guide to Early Dementia Detection. At this point, we hope to have provided you with a solid understanding of early detection, its many benefits, and the scientific research that supports it. In this section, we will quickly revisit some of the key points that have been made throughout this guide before concluding with a glimpse into the potential future of early dementia detection.
Key Points From Our 5-Part Guide
Part 1: Definition and Statistics
- Early dementia detection is the process of identifying the early symptoms of dementia.
- All forms of dementia are candidates for early detection.
- Cognitive evaluations are the only reliable early detection method currently available.
- Biomarkers may play an important role in future early dementia detection efforts.
- Up to 80% of all people with dementia may be undiagnosed.
Part 2: The Benefits of Early Detection
- Detecting the early symptoms of dementia allows professionals to do follow-up assessments and make an exact diagnosis.
- The most damaging myth about dementia may be that there is nothing to gain from being diagnosed.
- Medications exist that can slow the onset of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia once they are definitively diagnosed.
- Treatments are typically most effective when started early in the condition’s progression.
- An early dementia diagnosis provides the most time for acceptance, making plans, and enjoying life.
Part 3: Early Detection Methods
- Researchers hope to find reliable biomarkers that they can use to identify dementia in its earliest stages.
- Recent advancements in PET scanning show promise in developing an early detection test that can find beta-amyloid early in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cognitive evaluations are the primary method for the detection of early dementia symptoms.
- Many people face access barriers to attending evaluation appointments (due to issues like physical disabilities and a lack of professional availability in some areas)
- BrainTest® is a self-administered early detection tool that brings the entire early detection process home, allowing anyone to be evaluated for signs of dementia without needing to attend an appointment.
Part 4: The Role of Research
- From a medical standpoint, our entire understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia is based on the results of continuous professional research efforts.
- Unfortunately, academic reports of experimental studies are often too dense with scientific jargon to make the information accessible to the general public.
- Researchers found that frailty was connected to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia by examining the brains of 450 people for evidence of beta-amyloid and comparing it to signs of frailty in their medical records.
- Tracking changes in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) of 161 older adults over a period of 5 years allowed scientists to discover that leaks in the structure were related to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
- These findings may lead to improvements in future early-detection efforts.
The Future of Early Detection
As work continues behind the scenes to develop better ways to detect, treat, and, ideally, prevent the early symptoms of dementia, it is clear that a significant effort is needed to increase the number of people who are taking part in cognitive evaluations. Awareness campaigns would certainly help, but no amount of education could adequately address many of the access barriers that keep people from attending professional appointments. To overcome these obstacles, instituting the widespread use of self-assessment tools like the BrainTest® app will likely become a necessity.
We hope you have enjoyed our 5-Part Guide to Early Dementia Detection. Each of the previous sections can be visited via the links in each of the subheaders of this article. We hope that you have gained a firm understanding of the importance of early detection. Early detection has many benefits that are supported by solid scientific research, and we need to dispel the myth that there is nothing that can be done for someone with a dementia diagnosis.