As 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, the presence of risk factors, 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 many 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 3 and 4 hours and can be split over 2 days. It includes several hours of testing and a clinical interview.
The MARS Optimize Treatment assessment measures how effective your current treatment regime is and the progression of your disease
Having data from this assessment is important because it is nearly impossible to the person living with memory loss or their caregiver to determine the effectiveness of a treatment regime. This is because most effective treatments slow the progression of the disease rather than make patients better. As a result, patients cannot provide an accurate report on their efficacy.
Accurate data about the efficacy of treatment is important because the physician will use that data to adjust or optimize the treatment regimen
This is similar to getting a cholesterol test after being put on a cholesterol treatment drug. Your physician never asks you whether the drug fixed your cholesterol levels. He or she tests them. If the test comes back with poor results, your physician changes the drug or dose. The same is true with the MARS Optimize Treatment assessment. If the tests come back with poor results, your physician can change the drug or dose to treat you more effectively. During feedback, our clinicians will provide you a full report on how the treatment has helped slow the progression of the disease.
The MARS Optimize Treatment assessment consists of a standardized set of the most valid and reliable assessments available for measuring the cognitive functioning of adults
The MARS Optimize Treatment Assessment takes about 3 hours. 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.
We recommend that people living with memory loss get a MARS Optimize Treatment assessment yearly after diagnosis.
The MARS Memory Check-up is a specially designed annual assessment of your memory systems. You can think of it as a physical for your brain. We check your memory functions and give you, and your physician when requested, a full report. No physician referral is necessary for a MARS Memory Check-up.
What does the MARS Memory Check-up entail?
The MARS Memory Check-up is a one-on-one interview and assessment session with a trained clinician and/or technician. The assessments are like little thought and memory games. Do not worry about doing poorly, no one gets all the answers correct. In fact, the assessments are designed so that they keep getting harder until you get some answers wrong. It is similar to pole vaulting in track and field. The pole keeps getting higher until the last person knocks it down.
I am feeling fine, why should I get a memory check-up?
There are two excellent reasons to get a MARS Memory Check-up when you are feeling fine:
First, getting a MARS Memory Check-up when you are functioning normally provides you with a measure of your normal performance. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and this initial measurement will document your strengths and weaknesses. This initial measurement is called a baseline, and will be used as the comparison for your performance on future MARS Memory Check-ups. Having a baseline increases the sensitivity of the test and thus allows us to detect abnormal changes much earlier than is possible without the baseline.
Second, early stage memory loss is often invisible to the client and their family. Thus, even though we “feel fine,” we should get assessed to screen for early stage memory disease.
How long does a MARS Memory Check-up take?
A MARS Memory Check-up takes between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the particular assessments given. Also, the check-up includes a 20 minute follow-up meeting with the clinician to discuss the results.
At what age should I start getting annual check-ups?
We recommend that people consider annual MARS Memory Check-ups as soon as they can after age 55. Younger baselines ensure a good, clean measure of normal functioning that we can use later for comparison. As we age, the risk of memory disease rises rapidly. Indeed, at 60 the risk is 1 in 100, at 85 the risk is about 1 in 2. So, as we age it becomes increasingly important to get a MARS Memory Check-up to help maintain our brain functioning.
When am I too old to start getting annual check-ups?
You are Never too old to start getting annual MARS Memory Check-ups. Indeed, like a physical, the older you are, the more important it is to get a memory check-up. Memory disease is not a normal part of aging. It should be detected and treated.
How much does a MARS Memory Check-up cost?
We work hard to keep the price of a MARS Memory Check-up affordable. The price of a memory check-up depends on the extent of the assessment, which depends on your risk factors. However, most memory check-up cost about the same as two visits to your dentist. We like to think that keeping your brain healthy is at least as important as keeping your teeth clean.