- Sep 13, 2020
I keep reading that 'a new blood test can diagnose Alzheimer's' and 'this new app can diagnose dementia'...but there seems to be a gap between technical advances and practice on the ground. I suspect I am reaping the benefits of (as you say) having a condition that isn't straightforwards, having a switched on psychiatrist and mental health team , being in Scotland which has some very specific dementia policies and funding and living in a city with a specialist clinic and University research facilities.I think you were very lucky to be offered a SPECT scan! Most people with suspected dementia get a CT scan which shows much less. But I really don't think you have the 'everyday' sort of dementia...
For most people, because dementia comes on gradually, often over several years, by the time it comes to diagnosis I don't think a scan is always necessary anyway. Certainly for mum, the diagnosis was merely 'stating the b*****n' obvious' and the consultant was able to diagnose after just a brief visit to mum, presumably talking with the staff and also after a long conversation with me. That seemed to tell him more than her scans. But mum could have been a poster girl for dementia - she showed every classic symptom/behaviour, so there was no question really.
I think your case is very different. And that's why those cognitive tests tell the medics far more than a scan would, because they can pinpoint which particular abilities are affected. e.g. maybe you know the Prime Minister but you can't count backwards or copy a shape. This should give them a better picture and hopefully help them reach a suitable diagnosis. A word of warning though - they may not be in agreement! You will read many posts on this board where people (who clearly DO have dementia) are still undiagnosed or their diagnosis is disputed by different doctors. Or where a previous diagnosis is overturned or changed.
Maybe one day there will be a simple blood test that gives a definitive yes/no result instantly.
Keep us posted!