Alzheimer disease

Diagnosis and Testing

How can Alzheimer Disease be diagnosed without genetic testing?

A clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease can be made from a patient’s symptoms. In 80-90% of cases, the diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease is correct. Signs of Alzheimer Disease include slowly progressive dementia and a brain MRI finding called gross cerebral cortical atrophy. Some people have a spinal tap done to check the levels of certain proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid which protects the brain and spinal cord. These proteins are called A-beta amyloid 42 and tau. The most accurate way to diagnose someone with Alzheimer Disease is to perform an autopsy after death. After a person with Alzheimer Disease passes away, their brain can be checked to look for amyloid plaques, tangles, and amyloid angiopathy which are abnormal findings in the brain. These findings prove the person had Alzheimer Disease.

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