Despite being written off by Fact checkers multiple times, this test continues to exist in social media, forums and YouTube videos. It is a human face created by placing photos of various animals. The claim is that if one manages to find the image of the camel among all other animals, then he can be assured of not having Alzheimer disease. We mark this as False.
The claim goes with the image shown below. It is posed as a test to check if one has Alzheimer disease. ‘Doctors say those who find the camel will be far from developing Alzheimer.
Is this a valid test for Alzheimer Disease?
Fact Checkers have already investigated and found that the image is doctored. The original image never had a camel in in the first place. The camel was inserted later in the left cheek of the face. You can read the detailed analysis of the doctored image here.
Dementia Central has a list of scientifically approved tests for Alzeimer’s disease listed here. Finding the camel is not one of them.
We asked Neurologists and Neuro-psychologists on the topic.
Dr. Pawan Raj, Associate Professor & Consultant Neurologist at Father Muller Medical College says, “No it is not a valid test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.”
Same answer is echoed by Shallu Joon, Clinical Neuropsychologist at National Brain Research Centre, “Many messages like this circulate on social media claiming to test/screen various psychiatric or neurological disorder. I have also seen these random Images claiming to test intelligence or personality types or memory capabilities etc. We only rely on reliable and valid neuropsychological tests with research based evidence backing those. So I don’t find this as a test to detect Alzheimer’s disease.”
What is Alzheimer Disease?
The US National Department of Aging mentions, ‘Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease in most people. In people with early-onset Alzheimer’s, a genetic mutation may be the cause. Late-onset Alzheimer’s arises from a complex series of brain changes that occur over decades. The causes probably include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.’
Can Alzheimer Disease be detected or prevented by solving puzzles like these?
Dr. Raj points out to a recent study in Neurology, a peer-reviewed neurology journal. As per the study published on June 2020, combination of healthy lifestyle choices may cut the dementia risk by up to 60% which includes “engagement in late-life cognitive activities”.
Can you test yourself for Alzheimer’s disease?
Dr. Raj says, “You cannot diagnose yourself. The diagnosis of Alzhiemer’s has to be done by a physician after interviewing and examining the patient with memory loss. There is no gold standard test to confirm Alzhiemer’s disease but some tests are being developed. However If you have a strong suspicion, you can screen yourself by administering various validated self assessment test which can assess your memory and cognitive function Eg: SAGE questionnaire, MMSE, miniCog assessment etc. A set of validated online tools are available here.”
Joon says, “Every memory problem is not indicative of having Alzheimer’s Disease. So only a person of knowledge can differentiate and go to actual reasons of the issue. Testing on own is not possible however if one is aware about Alzheimer’s Disease then he/she can seek early medical help which will help in better management. A person who is initial stage facing memory problems and other cognitive issues might indicate towards mild cognitive impairment (MCI) should seek professional help only.”
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