I read that a neurologist has special tests that can determine if uncharacteristic behavior is due to dementia or some other condition. My husband's neurologist diagnosed my husband with Alzheimer’s disease; however, he did not give him any tests. Are there tests that are routinely given as part of an Alzheimer’s disease evaluation?
Physicians can correctly diagnose Alzheimer's disease (AD) about 90 percent of the time based on mental and behavioral symptoms, a physical examination, neuropsychological tests, and laboratory tests. It is possible that your husband's symptoms were so pronounced (to the trained eye) that the neurologist felt confident in declaring an AD diagnosis without further testing. To learn more about the tests that are routinely performed as part of an Alzheimer's disease evaluation, please read the section titled “What are the diagnostic tests used in Alzheimer's disease?” under Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Is there a correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer's? Does coffee drinking increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
There is some evidence to causally link aluminum to Alzheimer's disease, however, further studies need to be done to definitely establish that high levels of dietary aluminum lead to Alzheimer's disease. You can read more about the connection between aluminum and AD in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section of our website.
As far as coffee goes, recent studies indicate that there may be a beneficial effect to consuming caffeine. For example, in one study it was found that the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia was lower in people who consume on average one cup of coffee per day compared to those who do not regularly drink coffee. Another study investigated the effects of caffeine in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (Arendash et al. Neuroscience. 2006; 142(4): 941-952). Researchers found that giving the mice 1.5 mg of caffeine per day in their drinking water (which is the human equivalent of about five cups of coffee per day) caused the mice to perform significantly better on several behavioral and cognitive tests than their non-caffeine consuming counterparts. Additionally, the investigators found that long-term administration of caffeine to these transgenic mice resulted in lower brain levels of amyloid beta protein, which is the protein responsible for much of the pathology (e.g., amyloid plaques) characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. However, because of the negative side effects associated with the overuse of caffeine (heart palpitations, anxiety, nervousness, headaches, peptic ulcers, etc.) it generally not advised that anyone should start drastically increasing their coffee intake.
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