Alzheimer Diagnosis

Simple Test Lends a Hand With Alzheimer Diagnosis

A quick test for detecting Alzheimer disease is to tell the patient that you will try to shake his or her hand—but at the same time tell him not to do it. Then extend your hand. If he involuntarily extends his hand to shake yours, he fails the test. Alzheimer disease is a cortical dementia, and the involuntary extension of his hand in response to yours indicates that the cortex of his brain is not functioning well enough to override the influence of an environmental factor (here, the extension of your hand). This tip was given to me by Dr David Crumpacker of Dallas.

---- Nhan Wong, PA-C
      Lewisville, Tex