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Today, November 19, 2013, is National Memory Screening Day, which is an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. It’s an effort to promote early detection of, and intervention for, memory loss; screening helps educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and helps encourage early diagnosis.

The typical screen takes approximately 10 minutes; it involves a series of questions and tasks designed to assess memory function, as well as language and thinking abilities. Screenings are offered at a variety of locations—community centers, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and clinics. But really, a memory screening can take place just about anywhere. So have a frank discussion with your doctor and ask him or her to perform a memory screening—on this, National Memory Screening Day, or on any day of any month.

These screenings are important because they help distinguish between memory impairment due to normal aging and something more serious. Screening helps us recognize the more serious causes of memory impairment as early as possible.

Anyone concerned about his/her memory should be screened. Usually  neurologists suggest that people be screened after they reach 65. However, those with a family history of memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease may want to be screened earlier.

Why is it important to be screened earlier rather than later? The earlier people find out they have memory impairment, the earlier they can be diagnosed. The earlier they can be diagnosed, the earlier they can be treated. The earlier they are treated, the better they usually do.

For more information, visit nationalmemoryscreening.org


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