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Over 65? Utah doctor advises annual memory test



SALT LAKE CITY – For the first time, the nation's leading group of brain surgeons recommends that all over-65s receive an annual memory check-up.

"So far it has been common for physicians to overlook memory problems, or at least not to look for a memory problem. And many doctors felt that they should not look for such problems and did not know what they should do if they found such problems, "Dr. Norman Foster, Professor at the Department of Neurology and Senior Researcher at The Brain Institute at The University of Utah.

The Utah-based physician, who is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, has written the organization's new policy, which was released last week.

According to the academy, nearly 7% of people in their early 60s are mild cognitive impairment, while 38% of over-85s are affected by the condition.

According to Foster, the Utah Department of Health has also launched a sensitization campaign to encourage over-65s to ask their physicians for annual memory checks.

] This campaign kicked off in March, said Kristy Russell, resource specialist for the Alzheimer's disease and related dementias program at the Department of Health in Utah. For campaign and resource information, visit the department's website at agewell.health.utah.gov.

Russell also encouraged people under the age of 65 who suffer from medical problems to undergo a memory test because they can diagnose severe memory disorders, including younger age groups.

In the past, it was common for doctors to "just use their gut instincts to decide if anyone has memory and thinking problems," recalled Foster.

But the guideline recommends that they "go beyond that" by using a standard three-minute test to determine if someone has a problem that causes memory loss.


Much can be done to make his patients better and to improve the quality of his care.

-Dr. Norman Foster, Professor at the Department of Neurology


The standard test used in Utah challenges people to use three words to repeat it and then memorize it, draw a clock, put numbers and hands on the clock, which point to the time The doctor asks for it and then repeats the three words, said Foster.

The Alzheimer's Association praised the guideline in a statement on Wednesday called it "an important step in improving patient outcomes while also engaging in important discussions about cognitive issues, the Sen ioren must not divide otherwise.

The association stated in a report this year that despite a "widespread awareness" of the benefits of early detection, only 1

in 7 seniors reported receiving regular memory tests.

The American Academy of Neurology Guidelines tell neurologists and other healthcare providers what to do if they experience memory problems in their patients. According to Foster, physicians can use the evaluation to identify conditions such as depression, drug side effects or serious illnesses such as strokes or brain tumors.

The evaluation can help physicians find out if an underlying condition causes a patient's memory loss. or if it is only part of the normal aging process. Even sleep disturbances and mood swings can affect memory and thinking.

Other problems, such as hearing loss and blurred vision, can contribute to memory problems, Foster said. If these conditions are eliminated and a patient has the first signs of a more serious brain disease, such as Alzheimer's disease, the patient may know when to involve their family and plan for the future. And the doctor can work to improve his quality of life.

For these doctors, "there is much that can be done to make their patients better and improve their care quality," Foster said. According to Foster, the recommendation means that the health community "overcomes omnipresent nihilism in terms of memory problems and whether we can do something about it or know what causes it".

19659002] "And that has changed dramatically in the last decade because we now recognize that we can identify the cause of significant memory problems or, for example, use diagnostic tests to determine whether or not someone is suffering from Alzheimer's," said he. 19659002] Physicians increasingly recognize that drugs often cause memory problems that are confused with the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, added Foster. "This guideline is the increasing realization that early diagnosis and intervention are much more effective. I think things have changed so that we now know that it is one of our priorities as doctors to recognize and treat memory problems at an early stage.

To reduce the risk of memory loss, people should stay physically and socially active. Make sure your blood pressure is "well controlled" by following a good diet. Prevent or control diabetes; and find out about new therapies and research on memory problems.


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