Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease May Be Easily Identified Through Simple Number Test That Screens for Cognitive Impairment

Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease May Be Easily Identified Through Simple Number Test That Screens for Cognitive Impairment
A simple number naming test can identify those with cognitive impairment among elderly individuals, clearly differentiating patients with dementia and people with mild cognitive impairment from cognitively healthy people. The study, Screening Utility of the King-Devick Test in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer Disease Dementia,” published in the journal Alzheimer's Disease and Associated Disorders, provides clinicians with a tool for selection of individuals who might benefit from more extensive testing. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is far from a straightforward process, and with the current knowledge available, a definitive diagnosis can only be set when examining the brain after a patient dies. Nevertheless, recent research advances have produced tests allowing more accurate diagnoses, but such tests are often both invasive — measuring levels of molecules in liquid collected by a spinal tap — and expensive. Therefore, a better way to select patients who should undergo these tests would benefit both patients and doctors. Researchers from the Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Harvard Medical School, and the New York University School of Medicine worked together to assess whether a test commonly used to detect concussion might also be used to differentiate cognitive decline. The test,
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