Frequently Asked Questions
11. How is Alzheimer's disease diagnosed?
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The only definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease is to find out whether plaques and tangles exist in brain tissue. To look at brain tissue, doctors perform a brain autopsy, an examination of the brain done after a person dies.
To diagnose Alzheimer's disease, doctors may
- ask questions about overall health, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality
- conduct tests to measure memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language skills
- carry out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests
- perform brain scans to look for anything in the brain that does not look normal.