For the Classroom

Guess the Disorder Quiz: Alzheimer's Disease

  • Published11 Jul 2018
  • Reviewed11 Jul 2018
  • Author Emma Lindberg
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN


Neurologists and psychiatrists work every day to diagnose patients. One way they do this is by observing patients and asking them to describe their symptoms. In this activity, students will fill the role of a neurologist trying to diagnose a disease or disorder based on the evidence provided.

After studying the provided materials on diseases and disorders in the eighth edition of Brain Facts, students will investigate the symptoms of an unnamed disease using a handful of clues. Students will sift through their knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases, injury, and psychiatric disorders to eliminate wrong answers and solve the mystery.

Prep Work

This activity is based on chapters 11–15 (pages 71–104) of the eighth edition of Brain Facts. Encourage students to read the chapters during class time or on their own to study for the Guess the Disorder Quiz.


  1. Provide your student with the “Disorder Clues” prompt.
  2. Ask your students to read the prompt and use the information they learned from the Brain Facts book to determine the diagnosis. This can be done individually or as a group.


After your students have completed the quiz, ask them to share their answers with the class. Ask each student or group to give their rationale as to why they chose the diagnosis they did.

Disorder Clues

This disorder is characterized by progressive degeneration of the brain, which impairs memory and reasoning. There are early- and late-onset forms, which can eventually be fatal.

Early symptoms include:

  • Memory problems (greater than expected in a healthy person of the same age)
  • Difficulty concentrating or finding appropriate words
  • Problems judging and calculating
  • Disorientation in time or place

Most people are not diagnosed until the mild stage when symptoms include:

  • Personality and behavior changes
  • Wandering and getting lost
  • Repeating questions
  • Losing and placing objects in odd places
  • Taking longer to complete daily tasks
  • Having trouble handling money and paying bills

In the moderate stage, some patients have:

  • Trouble recognizing family and friends
  • Inability to learn new things
  • Problems coping with new situations
  • Difficulty getting dressed or performing other multistep tasks
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia; and impulsive behavior

In the severe stage, patients are completely dependent on others for care, as their body begins shutting down. Their communication is reduced to groans, moans, and grunts. Sleeping increases, and they become bedridden. Other symptoms include weight loss, seizures, difficulty swallowing, skin infections, and a lack of bowel and bladder control.


Alzheimer's Disease



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