When there is a rock in our path, we can stumble over it or use it as a stepping stone.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mini Mental Status Exams

I think mini-mental status exams are written for those with Alzheimers which manifests differently in the early to mid stages than other dementias such as Picks or Lewy Body.   Thus one could be living with one of the rarer dementias and pass a mini-mental with flying colors as I have done many times. The one thing I have been told from the very beginning is that I definitely don't have Alzheimers.  I have some symptoms that are common with Picks' Disease and some with Lewy Body Disease which is why I now have an ideopathic dementia diagnosis.  

In the excellent article "A Picture of Pick's Disease From the Inside Out"   the author  (a former doctor, diagnosed with Picks Disease) talks about how even though he has continued to deteriorate, he has actually gotten better at  taking psychometric  tests because since they are the same each time, he has been able to learn what they entail and prepare himself for them.     

I have found myself frustrated with the written and verbal tests meant to determine my capabilities also, especially the mini-mental status exam.   

* Yes, I do know who the president is and what state I am in and how to draw a clock that shows 3 PM - but I can never remember my own phone number and often have to look at a piece of mail I received to figure out my address.    

* Yes, I can subtract 7  from 100 but I can no longer figure out how to do math word problems or long division or do math with fractions.     

* Yes, I know how to form a silly picture in my mind of the three words you just gave me since I know you are going to ask me again in a few minutes what the words are and that by remembering the silly picture I will remember the words.     

But if you ask me five minutes after I put down the book I have been reading for the  past hour who the three most important characters in it are, I will be lucky if I can give you the name of one of them unless it is a book in a series that I have read a lot of over the years.

I know Alzheimers is the most common dementia but I wish they wouldn't try to evaluate all dementias with tests that seem to be meant for Alzheimers patients.     Thank goodness for CT scans and MRIs and Pet scans, etc. that show beyond a shadow of a doubt how extensive my brain damage is as without them, I would be in real trouble, still fighting to prove that something is very wrong in my brain if the only tests I was ever administered were the written (or verbal) tests that don't even begin to measure the types of deficits that I have.   

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