1. How is Alzheimer disease definitively diagnosed?
Alzheimer disease is currently diagnosed based on cognitive changes and by ruling out other causes of these changes. It is definitively confirmed after death by looking for microscopic changes in a person's brain tissue. The microscopic evaluation involves looking for the number of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles found in the brain. Characteristic changes on brain scans (MRI or PET scans) and/or low Aß42 and high tau protein levels in CSF (where available) may be ordered to help in the diagnosis.
This article was last reviewed on March 14, 2014. | This article was last modified on December 29, 2014.
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