banana. sunrise. Chair.
Read these three words out loud to commit them to memory. If you can remember them by the time you finish reading this article, you will have passed the standard test that doctors use to check your brain health.
While modern science has proven to be excellent at finding ways to test, measure, and treat a wide range of diseases, it is difficult to find tests and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related brain diseases. I’m still having a hard time with it. But there is one area where he is making progress. It’s that we now have a set of tools that allow us to roughly quantify how well we’re holding up mentally.
The four most commonly used brain assessment tests do not measure whether you are at peak intelligence or mental performance. Rather, it tests lower parts of the brain’s functions with the goal of pointing out early signs of poor thinking or declining mental abilities that require further investigation. It tests skills such as memory, spatial awareness, attention, and the ability to plan and make decisions, known as executive function, all of which can decline with age.
Sue Bolson, M.D., professor of clinical family medicine at the University of Southern California, says, “If someone is concerned about their cognitive function, or someone close to them is, they should get an evaluation. “There is,” he says.
Bolson created the Mini-Cog, a widely used cognitive assessment that requires just two tasks: a three-word recall test and a clock-drawing test, which take less than three minutes to complete. did. Other common cognitive assessment tests include MoCA and SAGE. His XpressO, a digital version of MoCA, will be released this fall.
MoCA is the most rigorous of them and is probably best suited for people at a higher education level. However, it is a quick test with only 30 questions and takes only 15 minutes to complete. “This will never be a sufficient measure of cognitive ability to perform complex real-world tasks, such as driving or leading a powerful nation,” said Dr. Hyung-sik Yang, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School. It’s not a perfect scale.”
And none of these tests can provide a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or any other disorder. But what they can do is establish a baseline of a person’s cognitive function and be able to track it over time. A change in score may require more extensive testing, such as a brain scan or blood tests. Medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies, and certain illnesses can also impair performance on cognitive tests. A more thorough examination will rule them out.
Medicare covers cognitive testing as part of the annual health exam for people age 65 and older in Medicare Part B. But typically, she is only one in four Medicare beneficiaries who gets tested. Bolson and his colleagues believe this number will improve with the arrival of new drugs to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are seven common challenges found in these assessments.
1. Draw the clock face.
Clock drawing exercises are a standard part of many of these exams. On a blank piece of paper, draw an analog clock with hands pointing to a specific time (for example, 4:03). Sounds easy, right? Take a moment and draw your own picture.