How Is Dementia Diagnosed?

Dr. Dean Foti, MD, FRCPC, Behavioural Neurologist, discusses how dementia is diagnosed.

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Dr. Dean Foti, MD, FRCPC, Behavioural Neurologist, discusses how dementia is diagnosed.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Dean Foti, MD, FRCPC, Behavioural Neurologist
Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds
So when you’re looking at these symptoms, certain symptoms may suggest that you have an Alzheimer’s problem, particularly if it’s a short-term memory problem, whereas other symptoms, for example, if you have very inappropriate, rude, difficult behavior, then that may suggest another problem like a frontal lobe dementia.
The type of symptoms you have may lead us to understand what kind of dementia you may be experiencing. When you evaluate somebody, we use a number of different tests. Typically, when somebody has milder symptoms, we use a more demanding test, something such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which is much more useful than the test that most regular doctors are familiar with, which is the Mini Mental Status Evaluation, or the MMSE.
So we do encourage family doctors to use the tougher test when they first see somebody who is concerned and complained. Otherwise they will often miss patients who have early concerning symptoms.
The other things that we do for evaluating patients with dementia are certain blood tests to make sure there isn’t a thyroid problem, or difficulty with your low B12 level. We also often do a brain scan to make sure that we’re not missing some other cause for dementia besides a problem like Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re concerned that you have any of these symptoms or somebody close to you has any of these concerning behavior or cognitive problems, then the starting point really is with your family doctor.
Your family doctor can do some initial testing with you, and if your symptoms, or your family member’s symptoms, are concerning, they may want to send you on to see a specialist for further testing. 








Presenter: Dr. Dean Foti, Neurologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Neurologist

Video Quiz ( 387 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Dementiapatients often don't notice their symptoms, however family members do and canbe very helpful to doctors when making a diagnosis.


Diagnosingdementia is based only on short term memory loss in a patient.


Afamily physician may want to send a patient who is showing signs of dementia toa specialist such as a Neurologist for further assessment.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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