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Is Pre Alzheimer's Disease Testing Effective? Essay

2061 words - 8 pages

Alzheimer’s disease is an unpreventable, untreatable disorder which leads to the lowest form of quality of life. This disease causes lacking cognitive abilities in the area of remembrance, reason, and recognition of familiar places and faces; is predicted to affect 16 million people in the United States by 2050 unless a viable treatment or cure is found. Because this disease affects the fastest-growing age group, current clinical trials are striving to find effective pre-Alzheimer’s Disease tests. However, there are people who believe that these pre-screening methods are not reliable.
Those that favor the idea of pre-Alzheimer’s Disease testing believe that cognitive abilities screening, neuropsychological exams, brain image testing and spinal fluid are the key to detecting this disease early in life. Through cognitive abilities screening the administering clinician is able to track and compare linguistic abilities associated with cognitive abilities over set intervals of time. In neuropsychological exams the clinician is able to detect early onset attributes of Alzheimer’s and recognize what areas will be affected. Brain imaging allows clinicians to diagnose Alzheimer’s with 90 percent accuracy. Lastly, in spinal fluid clinicians can identify a certain protein which has an 80%-90% exactitude of which people will have Alzheimer’s later in life.
In contrast, those who dispute the abilities of pre-Alzheimer Disease screening believe there is a downfall to each of the testing methods listed above. A failing cognitive abilities test has many reasons besides Alzheimer’s and can it distinguish which functions are affected the most. Neuropsychological testing is extensive, long and can cause stress for the recipient leading to false-positives. In brain imaging tests it is claustrophobic and not applicable for those with certain internal medical devices. Lastly, spinal fluid testing is disputed because of the lack of equipment and resources.
I believe that pre-Alzheimer’s Disease testing is effective. By pre-screening for Alzheimer’s we are able to begin the process of finding, not only a cure, but a preventative measure. Cognitive testing is easily accessible through doctors on routine medical check-ups, it can be completed in less than 15 minutes and track changes easily. Also, though neuropsychological testing can be time intensive, the information received from the exam can help make a personalized therapy plan for the patient. Brain imaging is an easy way to find other causes of memory problems or dementia symptoms and has a 90 percent accuracy rate of detecting the disease early. Lastly, with spinal fluids specialists are able to determine who does or does not have Alzheimer’s or preclinical signs of it.

Linguistic ability is a key component in screening cognitive abilities, especially when such screening is performed early in life. Snowdon (1996), a leading author of Alzheimer’s research found...

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