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Doctors employ a number of strategies to diagnose dementia. It is important that they rule out any treatable conditions, such as depression, thyroid problems, normal pressure hydrocephalus, or vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause similar symptoms.
Early, accurate diagnosis of dementia is important for patients and their families because it allows early treatment of symptoms. For people with Alzheimer's disease or other progressive dementias, early diagnosis may allow them to plan for the future while they can still help to make decisions. These people also may benefit from drug treatment.
The "gold standard" for diagnosing dementia, autopsy, does not help the patient or caregivers. Therefore, doctors have devised a number of techniques to help identify dementia with reasonable accuracy while the patient is still alive.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.