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Are Memory Problems an Indication of Alzheimer's?

by Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Brain Health Expert
April 17, 2012

Question: I am 68 years old and I am forgetting where I put things of late. Should I be diagnosed for Alzheimer’s disease?

Answer: A person over the age of 60 who is noticing memory problems and forgetfulness may be concerned about their health. My suggestion to those who ask me about their memory problems is to get a comprehensive memory assessment. I suggest that the assessment be conducted by a university-based medical center and that examination should include a physical examination with blood draw to rule out vitamin deficiency and thyroid problems, depression and anxiety, and other potential reversible causes of cognitive deficit. The exam should also include a social history, neuropsychological exam that measures cognitive functions such as memory, attention, judgment, language, and personality. Finally, a performance-based occupational examination can help to best understand what a person can and cannot actually do.

Such a comprehensive examination helps to take the speculation about cause away and provides a near definitive diagnosis and treatment approach.

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Dr. Nussbaum earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Arizona and completed his internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He has provided care to older adults for over 25 years and specializes in normal aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and related disorders. His brain health lifestyle ® has been published in consumer friendly texts, presented to diverse audiences across the nation, and is frequently cited in the media.

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