Dementia in the Elderly – Neurology Example

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"Dementia in the Elderly" is a marvellous example of a paper on neurology. Dementia has different ways of testing it. It can be through physical examination, laboratory tests, radiological tests as well as an assessment of the mental state through oral or written tests. All these are discussed in detail below. Laboratory tests- normal and abnormal findings The most common and simple tests but effective are the Vitamin B12 tests which are conducted through blood tests. The tests are meant to find out the level of Vitamin B12 in the body of the patient.

If the patient has dementia, the tests should indicate a deficiency in the vitamin levels. This is one of the routine tests conducted on people and especially those showing problems with cognition. Normal levels of the Vitamin B12 in the body should read 110-1500pg/ml. Any other reading that is lower or higher is an abnormal reading. If the patient has dementia, her readings will be much lower than the normal readings (Galvin & Sadowsky, 2012). Radiological tests- normal and abnormal findings A Magnetic Resonance Imaging test (MRI) is the most commonly used to make an initial diagnosis of dementia as it provides the images of the brain making it easier to pinpoint any lesions present.

The test is done by an MRI scanner and the results indicated in scans which are then interpreted by radiologists. Normal results are when there is no presence of any abnormal growths and everything is fine in terms of shape, appearance and location (Rossor, Fox, Mummery, Schott & Warren, 2010). Abnormal results are indicated through abnormal growths or fluid or nay problems with the nervous system. For an individual with dementia, the MRI scans will indicate having patterns of tissue loss or lesions and they can also be used to differentiate what type of dementia it is which is effective during treatment. Written/oral tests Mini-Cog- normal and abnormal limits This test is both written and oral and in written it involves a task being completed by the patient.

The task is determined by the doctor depending on the age or even sex of the patient. It is meant to test not only the mental ability and skill but the memory as well and hence essentially the patient will be completing two different tasks.

In the first task, three common objects are mentioned and the patient has to repeat them after a short period of time. Failure to remember indicates the presence of dementia. The other task is drawing for example a clock as it appears in the right order and putting in a specific time the doctor will decide. The time is taken as well as the inability to complete the task appropriately is an indication of dementia on the patient (Simmons & Hartmann, 2011). Mini-Mental State Exam- normal and abnormal limits This is used to test cognitive functions and everyday mental skills.

A series of written and oral questions which are approximately 30 are asked to the patients and are supposed to be answered within a short time mostly five minutes. A normal score is between 20-24 and anything below or above indicates trouble. If the patient has dementia, her score will be lower and will continue to decrease as the disease advances (Simmons & Hartmann, 2011). Conclusion The patient after being subjected to the tests discussed above and the results of each test got and compared will be able to be diagnosed on whether she has dementia or not.

In case she has dementia, the type of dementia can also be pinpointed out to her through the MRI scans and treatment alternatives can start being discussed.

References

Galvin, J. & Sadowsky, C. (2012, May-June). Practical Guidelines for the Recognition and Diagnosis of Dementia. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 25(3): 367- 382. Retrieved from http://www.jabfm.org/content/25/3/367.full.pdf

Rossor, M., Fox, N., Mummery, J., Schott, J. & Warren, J. (2010, August). The diagnosis of young-onset dementia. Lancet Neurology 9(8): 793-806. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947856/

Simmons, B. & Hartmann, B. (2011, October). Evaluation of Suspected Dementia. American Family Physician, 15 (8): 895-902. Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1015/p895.html

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