Free test at Banner can let you see how healthy your brain is

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Have you ever wondered what your brain health status is, or how your brain is performing at your age? If so, you can now take a free test at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute to see where you're at.

"What you do today and how proactive you are really affects your health in the next several years," said Dr. Alireza Atri, Banner Sun Health Research Institute's Director.

Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia. The progressive disease destroys memory and other important mental functions.

"As people age, just like anything else, there are changes in the body that affect the brain. There are also diseases and conditions that can affect the brain. Everyone is worried about Alzheimer's Disease, which we appreciate. The process itself starts 20 to 30 years sometimes, even before people will show major symptoms," said Dr. Atri.

Because of this, doctors at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute recently launched a program to help people take the first step in being proactive with their brain health, called the Brain Health Check-In program. It's a free, non-medical service that will give people a good assessment of where they're at.

"We don't ask medical questions about the background and medical history, because we don't want that to be part of the assessment," said Dr. Atri. "We just want the assessment to be pure."

Dr. Atri says people can expect to be asked a series of questions.

"You will answer some questions about whether you have concerns about changes in your thinking and memory and other abilities, also questions about mood and how you're engaged with life at this time," said Dr. Atri. "You'll be asked to remember something. You'll get distracted. You'll have to keep information on line. You'll have to copy things, and the results of those things are norms, in the sense that we have a basic data regarding how people generally perform at certain ages and educations."

The test takes about an hour, and once it's complete, the administrator will give a color-coded chart with the results. After the test, you review your results and talk about future plans.

"I really enjoyed it," said Bill Bain, who took the test. "I learned so much from the test and how she explained it on how I can make myself better, and I've got a lot of years left."

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, Dr. Atri says there are things you can do to slow its progression. Bain, 78, has words of advice for anyone else putting off getting checked.

"Don't be bold, don't be brave and don't be foolish," said Bain. "If you have problems, admit it and take care of it."

Anyone can take this test, but it's geared towards people 50 years old and older. Making an appointment is recommended. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help prevent Alzheimer's Disease, and they include exercising, keeping a healthy diet and healthy weight. It's also best to not smoke.

Brain Health Check-In