Test your memory test for Alzheimer’s disease

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UK researchers at Addenbrooke’s Hospital have created a new cognitive test (TYM) that detects Alzheimer’s disease quickly and accurately. The study published online on BMJ.com.

Although dementia is common, with an expected prevalence of 13 in 1000 in people aged 65-69 and 122 in 1000 in those over 80, only about half of those affected are diagnosed.

Without a diagnosis, patients and carers cannot access the services they need, so earlier diagnosis is a key component of the National Dementia Strategy in the United Kingdom. However, early diagnosis is not easy and no definitive test exists. In this cross sectional study, Brown and colleagues assess the effectiveness of the “test your memory” cognitive test in detecting Alzheimer’s disease.

The test was designed to minimise operator time and to be suitable for non-specialists to use. There were 540 control participants aged 18-95 and 139 patients attending a memory clinic with dementia/amnestic mild cognitive impairment. The new Test Your Memory (TYM) evaluation detected 93% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The TYM (“test your memory”) can be completed quickly and accurately by normal controls. It is a powerful and valid screening test for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

If TYM — test your memory — is to be adopted more widely it must be validated in a range of settings and different populations.

Source: British Medical Journal, UK

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