Is There a Free Online Test for Alzheimer's? Diagnosis

Medically Reviewed on 5/5/2022
Is There a Free Online Test for Alzheimer's
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from memory, thinking, or judgment problems, you may consider getting them to take an online version of the SAGE test

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from memory, thinking, or judgment problems, you may consider getting them to take a self-administered gerocognitive exam (SAGE). The SAGE test can be taken online and can help doctors detect signs of Alzheimer's or dementia.

However, in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and rule out other conditions, consult a doctor for proper testing and treatment. Proper diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is the critical first step to ensuring appropriate treatment, care, family education, and long-term planning for the condition.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a neurological condition in which neurons in the brain cease to function, losing their connections with other neurons and eventually dying.

Over time, this type of dementia slowly destroys memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior skills.

How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?

In order to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, doctors may conduct a medical evaluation, which may involve analyzing medical history and conducting a physical and neurological exam. They may also order tests to rule out potential other causes of cognitive impairment.

Tests may be ordered to assess the impairment of cognitive skills, functional abilities, and behavioral changes:

  • Brain imaging
    • Computed tomography (CT): CT scan combines specialized X-ray equipment with powerful computers to create images of the brain which can be used to screen for and rule out other causes of dementia, such as brain tumor, subdural hematoma, or stroke.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI produces detailed pictures of the brain by using X-rays and a strong magnetic field. Though MRI scans can reveal shrinkage in areas of the brain linked with Alzheimer's disease, they can also rule out the possibility of other illnesses. When it comes to diagnosing dementia, an MRI is often preferred over a CT scan.
  • Positron-emission tomography (PET): In a PET scan, a radioactive tracer is injected into the bloodstream to show a specific characteristic in the brain. The following procedures may be performed using PET imaging:
    • Neuroimaging, such as fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG): PET scans can reveal regions of the brain that have poor nutrient absorption. It is possible to differentiate between Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia by identifying patterns of degenerated regions due to poor metabolism in the brain.
    • Amyloid PET imaging: This type of imaging shows the number of amyloid deposits present in the brain. When a person exhibits uncommon or extremely early dementia symptoms, this imaging technique may be utilized to help determine the cause of the symptoms.
    • Tau PET imaging: This test assesses the presence of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain and is often used in the research environment.
  • Testing by a general practitioner (GP): A GP may do a few basic tests to determine the source of the problem. In most cases, the patient is asked to answer some questions and complete memory, reasoning, and pen-and-paper exercises which can help reveal how well various parts of the brain are working. The GP then refers the patient to a specialist for further evaluation if it is deemed necessary.


The Stages of Dementia: Alzheimer's Disease and Aging Brains See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 5/5/2022
Image Source: iStock Image

Goad K. Can a DIY Test Reveal Signs of Alzheimer's? WebMD.