Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Get Screened for Memory Problems; (Senior Focus)

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Get Screened for Memory Problems; (Senior Focus)

Article excerpt

Mayo Clinic research suggests that when older people start to think that they are having memory problems, they are highly likely to develop dementia within the next six years.

As a result, Mayo Clinic physicians recommend seeing your doctor if you have trouble remembering. On the other hand, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is a panel of doctors who evaluate the latest scientific evidence, does not recommend that your doctor should screen for dementia.

So what should you do if you think you have memory problems?

I strongly recommend that your doctor screen you for memory problems using either the St. Louis University Mental Status examination or the shorter Rapid Cognitive Screen. Unlike other memory tests, these screening tools detect mild cognitive impairment, which is a condition that occurs in the twilight zone between normal memory changes with aging and dementia.

If your test is positive for mild cognitive impairment, your physician should delve deeper.

He or she should make sure that you are not depressed, detect potential hearing or visual problems that could interfere with your ability to learn new things, check the medications that you are taking in case they are causing memory problems and do some basic blood tests to check for thyroid disease and vitamin B12 deficiency. …

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