Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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Mayo Clinic doctors trained in brain and nervous system conditions (neurologists) have experience diagnosing posterior cortical atrophy. Neurologists work with doctors trained in eye conditions (ophthalmologists), mental health conditions (psychiatrists), imaging (radiologists) and others to diagnose your condition.

During your visit, your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms, including vision difficulties, and conduct a physical examination and a neurological examination. Your doctor may order several tests to help diagnose your condition and exclude other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

  • Mental status and neuropsychological tests. Your doctor will ask you several questions and conduct tests to assess your memory and thinking abilities (cognitive skills). You may have additional psychiatric assessments to test for depression or other mental illnesses.
  • Blood tests. Your blood may be tested for vitamin deficiency, thyroid disorders and other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.
  • Ophthalmology examination. Your doctor will conduct a vision test (ophthalmology examination) to evaluate if any other condition is causing your vision symptoms.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a three-dimensional view of your brain. In this test, your doctor can view abnormalities in your brain that may be causing your symptoms.
  • Positive emission tomography (PET) or single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). In these tests, a doctor injects a small amount of radioactive material and places emission detectors on your brain. PET provides visual images of brain activity. SPECT measures blood flow to various regions of your brain.
Nov. 20, 2012

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