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Testing your Memory - Memory Care

It can develop slowly and worsen over time. Doctors say the symptoms of dementia can actually go unrecognized for months, even years. “In the early course, people can be aware of their changes and functioning, but over time they sometimes become less aware of changes,” said Dr. Michael Shain, a neuropsychologist with Lee Health. If a patient becomes unable to do things independently, it may be time to test their cognitive function. “There are some types of cognitive changes that would be more of concern, such as consistently not remembering where items are put, asking the same question over and over, or having no recall or very little recall of events that recently happened,” said Dr. Shain. Screening tests can highlight possible problems with cognitive functioning. “We would probably recommend neuropsychological testing in the earliest stages of concern because it’s sensitive enough to pick up these early changes,” he said. In addition to the neuropsychological testing, doctors would also conduct a brain scan and a dementia-specific medical exam to rule out any changes due to medical illness or medication. “Basically diagnosing dementia is essentially ruling out other possible causes for why someone is having changes with their cognitive functioning,” said Dr. Shain. While brain scans alone are not used to diagnose dementia, they can show changes in the brain. “They are looking to see if there is a reduction in the size of certain areas of the brain, particularly the hippocampus, which is the memory center of the brain,” he said. Repeat evaluations can also help doctors determine if the patient’s memory is declining, which would also be a sign of dementia. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit