Remember This - 2013: "Screening for Dementia"

Remember This - 2013: "Screening for Dementia"

Screening for Dementia - Presented by Dr. Jason Brandt
Screening for Dementia - Presented by Dr. Jason Brandt

This 2013 series of lectures, designed to address crucial topics in dementia and memory care, is presented in conjunction with the opening of Cohen-Rosen House, a new memory care residence. The seminars are sponsored by the Hurwitz Lecture Fund at Charles E. Smith Life Communities.

 “Screening for Dementia”

When you age, you can’t run as fast as you could when you were 30; you can’t expect your brain to work as fast either.  It just takes longer to think, longer to process information, and there are problems with multi-tasking. Yes, this is normal. Some brain functions remain the same or increase with normal aging. e.g., vocabulary and accumulated wisdom.

Most people complain of memory problems as they age, but they will say their problems are not worse in comparison to others their age. Testing shows that complaints about memory impairment tend to rise when depression is present; treating the depression will decrease complaints about memory.

Loss of memory is called amnesia. Dementia is loss of memory coupled with loss of functioning. Early detection and early intervention can be important in delaying symptoms.

Testing ought to be quick and easy to administer. Testing should be appropriate to administer in a primary care setting. The test should distinguish between normal aging and dementia, be reliable and valid, and have no false positives.

Dr. Brandt reviewed several tests now in use, including:

The Mini-Mental, first published in 1975 and now widely used. With this test, very bright people can score well despite impairment, and the tester needs to consider the educational level and intellectual experience of the patient.

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is designed to detect mild cognitive impairment.

The Telephone Interview for Cognitive Screening (TICS) is easy to administer and is useful because despite some issues (the subject may have a calendar, newspaper or notepad handy), results correlate very closely with the established Mini-Mental.

Patients who test positive for mild cognitive impairment, notice or their family members notice memory issues, and their memory seems impaired compared to others their age have a 50 percent chance of developing dementia within five years. The risk increases with age, stroke, head injury, diabetes, obesity, neurological disorders and family history.

Dr. Jason Brandt is Director, The Copper Ridge Institute. At Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director, Division of Medical Psychology, and Professor of Neurology.

He has developed an Internet-based cognitive screening tool for Dementia Risk Assessment to encourage early consultation and treatment. Over 5,000 have taken this test. It is free, and it can be taken by you for yourself or as a “proxy for an elderly relative or parent. Check out .

Upcoming Lectures:

Tuesday, May 21:  "Alzheimer's Disease: Current Understanding and New Directions."  Presented by Dr. Neil Buckholtz. Dr. Buckholtz is Director of the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.

Wednesday, June 19:  "Sexual Behaviors and the Dementia Patient."  Presented by Jennifer FitzPatrick, MSW/LCSW-C. Ms. FitzPatrick is the founder of Jenerations Health Education, adjunct instructor at Johns Hopkins University and educational consultant for the Alzheimer's Association.

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