Diagnosing Dementia - Remember Advanced Memory Clinic

How Is A Diagnosis of Dementia Made?

Dementia is largely a clinical diagnosis. This means that it is generally not diagnosed after a blood test or an MRI scan, but on the basis of a medical assessment which includes taking a detailed history from the person and/or their relatives or carers, and performing an objective assessment of the individual’s cognitive abilities, such as memory.

Dementia is diagnosed if the clinical features fit predetermined diagnostic criteria. These diagnostic criteria have recently been revised and were published in 2013 in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM 5). In order to be diagnosed with dementia (now renamed ‘major neurocognitive disorder’), the following must be present:

  • Substantial cognitive decline from a previous level of performance in one or more cognitive areas as reported by the person or a relative (these include complex attention, executive abilities, learning and memory, language, visuospatial abilities, and social cognition)
  • A decline in neurocognitive performance on formal testing
  • Interference with independence (for example, requiring assistance with activities of daily living such as paying bills)
  • Delirium or another mental disorder (eg, major depression, schizophrenia) is not demonstrated to be the basis of poor cognitive function.

Remember Is A Comprehensive Memory And Dementia Clinic

Remember Advanced Memory Clinic is a multidisciplinary specialist medical clinic which provides expert assessment, treatment, education and support for individuals with cognitive complaints and their carers. The specialist team usually comprises a cognitive neurologist, neuropsychologist, psychologist, dietician, neurosurgeon, exercise physiologist, rehabilitation specialist and psychiatrist.