Dementia - Diagnosis

How is dementia diagnosed?

The questions we ask

Critical to diagnosing a form of dementia is taking a good history. This is the term that we use to describe the questions we are asking about a medical problem. We will be asking questions about memory and other cognitive functions and the impact they are having day to day. We will also be asking about medical history, medications, psychological difficulties now and in the past and trying to get an overview of the social situation. Often we ask the person who is experiencing memory problems as well as someone who knows them well-often a partner, adult child or other carers. It is important to get these different perspectives to get a clear picture of the problems

Cognitive Testing

We will also likely be conducting testing of memory and other cognitive functions at the clinic. The extent to which this is done depends on the outcome of the history noted above. This process may take only 10 minutes or so, although sometimes there is a need for more in-depth cognitive testing. Comprehensive neuropsychological assessment - the gold standard cognitive testing process - is available at Your Brain in Mind.


The three broad categories of investigation that are done as a matter of course are blood tests, a urine test, and some form of brain imaging. Some of these things may have been done prior to your arrival. The need for any further tests will be discussed in your consultation with the doctor at the clinic

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