Navigation Links
Friends, family detect early Alzheimer's signs better than traditional tests

Family members and close friends are more sensitive to early signs of Alzheimer's dementia than traditional screening tests, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Doctors often evaluate a person who is having memory problems by testing them with a variety of cognitive tasks, such as recalling a list of words or comparing shapes of objects. Washington University researchers developed a different approach. The two-minute Ascertain Dementia 8 (AD8) questionnaire relies on a friend or family member who knows the person well, known as an informant, to evaluate whether cognitive changes have caused the individual to have difficulties in performing everyday activities.

In the new study, published online in the journal Brain, scientists validated the AD8 by checking to see if it could highlight individuals who had biological indicators, or biomarkers, for Alzheimer's disease, such as abnormal levels of certain factors in the spinal fluid or positive brain scans for Alzheimer's plaques. The AD8's results corresponded with biomarker results more consistently than traditional cognitive tests.

"It's not economically feasible to screen everyone for Alzheimer's disease biomarkers," says John C. Morris, MD, director of the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine. "The AD8 gives us a brief and very low-cost alternative that takes a few minutes of the informant's time to screen for dementia and thus identify those individuals who need follow-up evaluations to determine if there truly are signs of Alzheimer's."

According to Morris, the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology, the difficulty with traditional early-stage dementia screening tools is that they only give a snapshot of a person's cognitive abilities at one point in time when they're being tested. Asking the individual if his or her mental abilities have changed doesn't necessarily produce accurate results either, Morris says, because persons with early-stage dementia often lack insight into their problem.

Researchers at the Knight Alzheimer' s Disease Research Center, including first author James Galvin, MD, now at New York University, developed the AD8 from the Center's existing research tools. Informants are asked to rate whether there has been a change in the following areas:

  • Problems with judgment, such as bad financial decisions;
  • Reduced interest in hobbies and other activities;
  • Repeating of questions, stories or statements;
  • Trouble learning how to use a tool or appliance, such as a television remote control or a microwave;
  • Forgetting the month or year;
  • Difficulty handling complicated financial affairs, such as balancing a checkbook;
  • Difficulty remembering appointments; and
  • Consistent problems with thinking and memory.

Informants can respond yes or no to each item; each "yes" response is worth a point, and a score of two or more indicates a need for additional evaluation.

According to Morris, informants who have regular exposure to the individual provide the most accurate assessments.

"These informants can give us the retrospective perspective we need to know that a person's mental abilities have begun to meaningfully decline, indicating that additional testing is needed," Morris says.

For the new study, researchers gathered AD8 evaluations on 251 individuals and also tested them using the Mini Mental State exam, a traditional dementia screening test. They then evaluated biomarkers in the individuals, including spinal fluid assays and brain plaque scans.

"Based on our results, the AD8 appears to be superior to conventional testing in its ability to detect signs of early dementia," Morris says. "It can't tell us whether the dementia is caused by Alzheimer's or other disorders, but it lets us know when there's a need for more extensive evaluations to answer that question."

Since its development, the AD8 has been translated into several different languages and validated in those languages. It is currently in use in clinics around the world.


Contact: Michael C. Purdy
Washington University School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
2. and the LifestyleMom Radio Cafe Aim to Help Women Create a Family Life and "Me Life" That They Truly Love
3. Family Research Council: Planned Parenthood Report Oversexualizes Ten-Year-Olds, Undermines Parental Authority
4. Family's Fight to Save Child Spreads Hope Around Globe
5. Jewish Board of Family and Childrens Services Welcomes New Board President, Tony Mann
6. Vancouver, Washington -- Free Family Fun at Health Fair
7. Los Angeles Jewish Home Adds Short-Term Rehabilitative Care to Family of Services
8. Surgeon General with Microsoft HealthVault Expands Consumer Benefits for the My Family Health Portrait Offering
9. Family members reduce stress in advanced cancer patients with 14 minute massages
10. InterAmerican College Announces Certification of Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner Program
11. Global AIDS Alliance: U.S. Must Meet Its Obligations to Family Planning
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss ... to treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. ... Zurich analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The ... of USA Today in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, with a ... component is distributed nationally, through a vast social media strategy and across a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Microsoft Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official group for end ... Microsoft Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... CBD College is proud to announce that on ... accreditation to its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this ... colleges and universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class Asterisk ... Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 product line. , Making the change to ... of Asterisk that will receive not only security fixes, but feature and bug ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... Ein neuer Kombinationsansatz vereint ... --> Ein neuer Kombinationsansatz vereint Immuntherapie ... --> Ein neuer Kombinationsansatz vereint Immuntherapie ... Clinical Cancer Research vom 6. November ... vom 6. November 2015 berichtet. --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Un nuevo enfoque combina la ... cáncer avanzado.   --> Un nuevo ... Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado.   --> ... la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado. ... --> Clinical Cancer Research . --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Pacemaker Market Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders ... report to their offering. Boston ... Boston scientific and others. --> ... Biotronik, Boston scientific and others. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: