Simple test may reveal early signs of dementia

Devising a test to identify Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages is one of the most important aspects of senior health research, and a team of scientists believe they have found an effective method. Experts from The Ohio State University believe a simple pen and paper test that takes as little as 10 minutes could signal whether seniors should undergo a more thorough evaluation.

The 22-point test is meant to assess language skills, memory and problem-solving abilities, among other aspects of cognitive health. To measure its effectiveness, researchers administered the tests to 1,000 people over 50. The results revealed that about 28 percent of the participants had some form of cognitive problem. Scientists hope their test can become a mainstay in memory care.

“I think that any test that improves detection of dementia is useful, because dementia is so under-recognized,” Dr. Gayatri Devi told LiveScience.

By identifying the signs of dementia early, seniors can take proactive steps to maintain their cognitive function as long as possible. This is especially important given that the World Health Organization estimates that the number of seniors with dementia will triple by 2050 if no cure or treatment is discovered.