New test helps detect signs of Alzheimer's disease early

According to the Alzheimer's Association, about one-third of Alzheimer's patients with mild cognitive impairment get dementia within five years. If you're concerned about your cognitive capacities, it's never too early to get yourself tested. Come and take a test with us today!

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New test helps detect signs of Alzheimer's disease early

Alzheimer's disease is a growing problem.

Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia and affects more than 5 million Americans. The number of people with Alzheimer's disease has been rising steadily. It is estimated that by mid-century, the population of people with this type of dementia will have grown by 50%.

More people will live with Alzheimer's disease than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. One in three older people dies from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.

Alzheimer's Disease: A troubling health issue for Americans

Scientists don't know what causes Alzheimer's disease. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time. Research suggests that the risk of getting it increases with age; more than half of people with Alzheimer's are 65 or older when they are diagnosed.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but medicines can help manage anxiety, depression, and confusion symptoms. Doctors may also recommend physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy to improve daily functioning.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but medications and lifestyle changes can help with symptoms. Treatments for Alzheimer's focus on managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

Hearing loss and dementia are linked.

Dr. Lin, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, performed a study that discovered that the degree of hearing loss increased the likelihood of dementia. The risk was twice as high for people with only a mild instance of hearing loss. However, a moderate hearing loss increased the risk threefold, while a severe case of hearing loss increased the risk fivefold.

What role does hearing loss play in cognitive impairment and dementia? There are three explanations.

The first is "cognitive load," which means that the constant effort of trying to understand something stresses the brain. This one is easy to understand. When you put in a lot of effort to understand what you're hearing, you're depleting resources that could be used to encode what you hear in memory.

Another factor is that hearing loss might impact brain structure, leading to cognitive issues. According to brain imaging studies, the brain region that receives and interprets sounds from the ears had less gray matter in older persons with hearing loss.

Finally, social isolation appears to be a significant factor. People who are hard of hearing tend to distance themselves from others because they find it challenging to communicate. They are less inclined to mingle in groups or go out to restaurants. In addition, being socially isolated has long been linked to cognitive decline and dementia.

New test helps detect signs of Alzheimer's disease early.

Early detection of dementia is essential because once symptoms appear, it is difficult to reverse them, and there is no known way to prevent them from getting worse over time.

That's why we've started to offer the MoCA test here at Silicon Valley Hearing.

The MoCA test (also called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment) is a short, 30-question test that helps doctors find cognitive problems early. This speeds up diagnosis and care for the patient.

According to MoCA, the MoCA test accurately assesses multiple cognitive domains:

  • Short-term memory (e.g., remembering new information)
  • Visuospatial abilities (e.g., drawing; identifying spatial relationships among items)
  • Executive functions (e.g., planning; problem-solving)
  • Attention, concentration, and working memory (e.g., multi-step tasks)
  • Language (e.g., finding appropriate words)
  • Orientation to time and place (e.g., remembering date; knowing current location)

What the MoCA test can do for you

Since its creation in 1996, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) has been recognized worldwide as the best cognitive screening test for Alzheimer's and other disorders. It has been used by Harvard, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, and the National Institutes of Health.

Over 500 studies have shown that MoCA is better than other cognitive screening tools at finding Alzheimer's disease and 20 other diseases, such as stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and kidney disease.

MoCA is the best test for spotting Alzheimer's disease. It measures executive functions and multiple cognitive domains, which are essential parts that MMSE doesn't measure. Recent studies show that MoCA has a 90 percent accuracy rate (sensitivity) for finding mild cognitive impairment. This is much higher than the 18 percent accuracy rate of the current leading test for finding cognitive decline.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, about one-third of Alzheimer's patients with mild cognitive impairment get dementia within five years. If you're concerned about your cognitive capacities, it's never too early to get yourself tested. Come and take a test with us today!

Marni Novick, Audiologist in Los Gatos, CA

Dr. Marni Novick

Founder & Audiologist

Marni Novick, AuD, is founder of Silicon Valley Hearing, Inc., which opened its doors in 2014, with the promise of delivering honest and affordable hearing health care, along with exceptional customer service to her valued patients.

About Dr. Novick

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