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).
For a long time doctors dismissed forgetfulness and mental confusion as a normal part of aging. But scientists now know that memory loss as you get older is by no means inevitable. Indeed, the brain can grow new brain cells and reshape their connections throughout life.
Most people are familiar with at least some of the things that can impair memory, including alcohol and drug abuse, heavy cigarette smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress, vitamin B12 deficiency, and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
Forgetful? Your prescription meds could be interfering with your memory. — Larry Williams/Corbis
But what many people don’t realize is that many commonly prescribed drugs also can interfere with memory. Here are 10 of the top types of offenders.