Early detection is essential to preserving memory in Alzheimer's
13 November 2007
When people develop memory concerns, they fear a
diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and may be reluctant to discuss their
concerns with family or physicians. This reluctance often results in delayed
diagnosis and treatment, which can negatively impact care, says Dr Jody
Talbott of the Neuropsychology & Memory Center, in Naples, Florida.
"Alzheimer's disease is not a part of normal aging," Dr Talbott explains.
"Occasional memory lapses are normal. Alzheimer's is different. It presents
with distinct symptoms, most commonly a loss of memory for recent
information such as conversations and events."
Dr. Talbott says early
intervention is essential. Addressing memory concerns takes teamwork.
Physicians can perform tests to determine if memory concerns may be
explained by a medical condition, such as diabetes, or suggest the
possibility of Alzheimer's. Neuropsychologists work with physicians to
determine the extent of memory difficulties and arrive at diagnoses. This
team approach to medical care offers patients an optimal course of
As yet, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. However, there is
reason to be hopeful. "Research has advanced our understanding of this
condition and led to treatments that better preserve and protect cognitive
function, slowing down the rate at which memory problems progress," Dr
The Neuropsychology & Memory Center offers scheduled
free memory screenings for anyone with memory concerns. Screenings help to
differentiate troublesome symptoms from normal memory lapses. "Screenings
are quick and simple," Dr Talbott says. "They consist of short questions and
tasks designed to test memory, language, and thinking. Screenings are not
designed to diagnose conditions, but simply to alert patients to the need
for further evaluation."
"November is National Alzheimer's Awareness
month. Heightened focus on this important issue nationally presents a unique
opportunity to raise public awareness and affect a positive change locally,"
Dr. Talbott states. "I am passionate about getting the word out about the
importance of early detection. Being proactive improves quality of life and
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