The Clock Drawing Test and Dementia

You may have heard of the clock test before. It is commonly included in the battery of tests when making a dementia diagnosis. More than one test is used because doctors are first trying to rule out other causes for the cognitive impairments (such as tumors, stroke or other changes to the brain), to determine if the dementia symptoms could be reversible (such as with an infection or vitamin deficiencies), and to differentiate the type of dementia (if it is vascular, frontotemporal, etc.). Actually, the dementia test work-up is really a bunch of tests to rule out causes for the cognitive changes, and only when no other cause can be found, a diagnosis of dementia or probable dementia is given (or at least that is the ideal way the tests are used and a diagnosis of dementia is arrived at).

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