By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is called a “clinical cognitive evaluation” – a simple test – done by neurologists, psychiatrists and family doctors – to diagnose either dementia or other cognitive impairment.

We know there is no cure for dementia but as medications are being developed, this type of test could be used as a way to see who needs more intensiive testing. We know this much: evaluations can lead to earlier treatments with more time spent at a milder disease stage, more time spent in the community, and less time spent in long-term care facilities.

The most important point here is that we need to screen for dementia because there are things we can do to slow down progress and hopefully prepare people for when there may be a treatment that can help in a greater way.