Rapid detection of cognitive impairment and dementia with new test

Rapid detection of cognitive impairment and dementia with new test
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A team of researchers have developed a new screening test that can rapidly detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

The team from Kanazawa University has developed a new computerised cognitive test, termed The Computerised Assessment Battery for Cognition (C-ABC), which was found to be effective in screening for both dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in just five minutes.

Currently, computerised cognitive tests for dementia and MCI take ten to 30 minutes to complete, and the wide range of existing tests available can make it difficult for healthcare practitioners to choose the best test for detecting dementia or MCI. This new, rapid test tackles the problem by efficiently screening for both conditions.

The study has been published in PLOS ONE.

Testing for cognitive impairment

The researchers collected C-ABC scores from participants in different age groups with dementia, MCI, and normal cognition, then conducted a range of statistical tests to determine whether the test could distinguish between them.

Co-lead author of the study, Moeko Noguchi-Shinohara, said: Although patients with dementia usually have disorientation and severe memory disturbance, those with MCI and those with normal cognition rarely have both. We wanted to develop a test that could distinguish these cognitive states in an efficient manner.”

Masahito Yamada, senior author, explained that the team were surprised by the results as the C-ABC could distinguish individuals with MCI from those with normal cognition using scores from items that only took five minutes to complete. In the 75-80 age group, answers from just two questions were able to distinguish between participants with MCI from those with normal cognition, taking only two minutes to complete.

Yamada said: “When we compared our C-ABS scores with those from the frequently used Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), we found a high correlation. However, the C-ABC is substantially faster to complete than the MMSE, and may be more sensitive to MCI or mild dementia.”

The researchers say that this new rapid test could make cognitive screening more accessible and efficient, leading to earlier detection of MCI or dementia.

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