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Researchers Develop New Test for Early Alzheimer Disease

07/15/2009 - News

Researchers Develop New Test for Early Alzheimer Disease

By: June Chen, MD

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Are you concerned about memory loss or have you noticed changes in your thinking skills? If you are worried that the symptoms you are experiencing might be Alzheimer disease, researchers have developed a new test that may be a powerful screening tool for diagnosis of this cognitive disorder.

In an article published online June 10, 2009 in BMJ, scientists from the United Kingdom report on a new, self-administered test for Alzheimer disease.

 

Researchers from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, the United Kingdom developed a short cognitive test that examines 10 skills and evaluated it on 540 control participants and 139 patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment. They found that the test was able to detect 93% of Alzheimer disease cases. The researchers indicate that the test can be scored and analyzed by the doctor in 2 minutes. They also found that with only 10 minutes of training, a nurse without any experience working in a memory clinic can analyze the test as accurately as a memory specialist.

 

Although more sophisticated, longer tests are used in specialist settings, this short test may be a powerful screening tool in a range of clinical settings, facilitating earlier diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer disease. Most of the study participants were white, so the results of this study need to be validated in other populations. However, identifying patients with early dementia is challenging, and an easy-to-administer, easy-to analyze screening test would be an extremely useful clinical tool.

 

Source:

BMJ. 2009;338:b2030.

Created on: 06/23/2009
Reviewed on: 07/15/2009

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