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Questionnaire May Help Spot Early Dementia
Date:6/10/2009

Experts caution that do-it-yourself test still needs doctors' interpretation,,,, ,,

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- A new test that evaluates cognitive ability -- and which you can give yourself -- appears to be faster and more accurate than current tests in detecting early dementia, according to British researchers.

Called "Test Your Memory," or TYM, the test "shows great promise as a screening test for Alzheimer's or in monitoring response to treatment," said lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Brown, a consultant neurologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England. However, he said, "so far it has only been tested in one clinical scenario, and it needs assessment in others."

People can take the test, in questionnaire form, on their own, but it still must be interpreted by medical professionals.

And it's not considered a diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease, Brown said, but he added that it could be useful in identifying people who need further evaluation.

"A good TYM score means that it is very unlikely a patient has Alzheimer's," he explained. "A poor TYM score [could have] several causes, such as anxiety or dyslexia, but the possible causes include Alzheimer's disease," he explained.

The report is published in the June 9 online edition of BMJ.

For the study, Brown and his fellow researchers gave the TYM exam to 540 people, 18 to 95 years old, who had no history of neurological disease, memory problems or brain injury. They also gave the exam to 139 people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairment.

They compared the results of the TYM exam with two commonly used cognitive tests, the mini-mental state examination and the Addenbrooke's cognitive examination-revised, which the participants also were given.

For the TYM, people are asked to complete 10 tasks that test their ability to copy a sentence, to determine word
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