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How Treatment Success is Measured

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Through the various stages of the disease, the doctor will want to assess how effective treatment is so that he or she can adjust medication as needed to maximize its benefits. For treatment to work as well as possible, it's important to ensure that the person with Alzheimer's disease takes his or her medication exactly as prescribed by the doctor. And if you notice any changes in symptoms, be sure to discuss them with the doctor.

The MMSE

Treatment success is measured using standard tests such as the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), which was probably also used for the initial diagnosis. MMSE tests are useful for doctors who are following the impact of treatment on the disease over time. However, they may not measure all of the things that are important to you or the person close to you.

The GAS

Researchers have developed another test called the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS), which provides another way to measure progress. The GAS takes into account the specific, realistic goals that a person sets, as well as the expectations of the doctor. Researchers hope that this tailored approach will reflect a better understanding of what is possible and what is important. For example, a person with Alzheimer's disease may decide to set a goal of continuing to sing with their local choir over a defined time period. After the time has passed, they may, along with their doctor or caregiver, assess their progress (i.e. was the goal reached? Was the goal exceeded? Was the goal unrealistic?).