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AIDS DEMENTIA...SOCIALSECURITY DISABILITY SCREENING MEMORY TESTING...MANDATORY
Jul 23, 2004

DR's. I have been diagnosed with HIV Dementia and am also applying for my social security disability & SSI. The SS doctors want me to take a memory test! What is this and what does the patient do during the test? I am anxious to take the test as this test has a bearing on my case being approved! What can I do to prepare or not?

Thank You

Response from Dr. Horwath

I don't know which memory test the social security doctors are proposing, but most of them are very straightforward.

One commonly used test, the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE)is a commonly used test, but is not very sensitive to the type of impairments commonly found in HIV dementia. The test has no measures of speed of information processing, amd slowed thinking is a key feature of HIV dementia. The problem here is that this test sometimes produces false negatives for HIV dementia (ie. the test does not pick up on a demntia that is in fact present).

A better test is the HIV Dementia Scale, which contains timed measures that are more sensitive to speed of information processing. Research has show that this is a more sensitive test.

Whatever test they give you, there is no need to prepare, just take it.



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