This NHS Choices web page offers an easy to understand overview of the process involved in receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease for the layman.
There is currently no single perfect test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease, so diagnosis usually involves ruling out other conditions which could be causing the symptoms.
In cases of suspected Alzheimer’s Disease, a brain scan may be used look for physical changes. This could be:
- A computed tomography (CT) scan: where X-rays of the brain are taken at different angles and a computer combines the images.
- A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: where a strong magnetic field and radio waves produce detailed images of the inside of the brain.
A GP may refer a person to a specialist to help with the diagnosis. The GP or specialist may use tests to assess a person’s memory and thinking skills. One such test is the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). An MMSE cannot provide a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease on its own, but it can be used to assess mental abilities including short-term memory and long-term memory, attention span, concentration, language and communication skills, and the ability to plan and understand instructions.
Read more: Alzheimer’s Disease: Diagnosis (NHS Choices).