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An Interview with Don Schmechel, MD

The MARS Diagnostic Assessment

Couple holding hands on the beachAs we age, it is normal for our memory to be less perfect than it used to be. Nevertheless, noticeable changes in memory should not be ignored.

Disease related memory loss is most likely to strike as we age. At 60, we have a 1 in 100 chance of having abnormal memory loss, by the time we are in our mid 80s, that chance rises to almost 1 in 2. So, we must be vigilant to identify and treat disease related memory loss.

The MARS Diagnostic assessment is used to determine whether the client has memory loss and, if so, to help determine what is causing the memory loss

Getting diagnosed early and accurately is critical to the successful treatment of memory loss. Detecting and treating memory loss early will directly and positively influence the quality of life of the person living with memory loss. MARS Memory-Health Network works closely with your physician to identify whether you have a memory problem, and if so, to diagnose that memory problem.

A physician will refer individuals for the MARS Diagnostic Assessment if they suspect that the individual may be experiencing memory loss

Suspicion can arise from patient complaints, family complaints, or the physician’s own observations. Early detection of memory loss, similar to that of other progressive diseases like cancer, gives the patient a treatment advantage. The drugs available today for treatment of dementia slow the progression of the disease. Therefore, if one catches memory loss early, aggressive treatment can provide the patient may extra quality years.

The MARS Diagnostic Assessment consists of a standardized set of the most valid and reliable assessments available for measuring the cognitive functioning of adults

These assessments are sensitive enough to detect memory loss at its earliest stages and broad enough to allow for differential diagnoses. The MARS Diagnostic Assessment includes assessments of psychological states, such as depression, that can mimic memory disease, as well as comprehensive functional assessments of memory systems. The MARS Diagnostic Assessment takes between 4 and 5 hours and can be split over 2 days. It includes several hours of testing and a clinical interview.

The MARS staff understands the challenges involved for older individuals with memory loss. We help our clients feel comfortable, relaxed, and at ease while they are with us.