EurekAlert (March 11, 2010): New Alzheimer's Test Offers Better Opportunities For Early Detection

Publication Date: 
Thu, 03/11/2010

Early detection is key to more effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive impairment, and new research shows that a test developed at the University of Tennessee is more than 95 percent effective in detecting cognitive abnormalities associated with these diseases.

The test, called CST - for computerized self-test - was designed to be both effective and relatively simple for medical professionals to administer and for patients to take.

Rex Cannon, an adjunct research assistant professor of psychology at UT Knoxville, and Dr. John Dougherty, an associate professor in the UT Graduate School of Medicine, worked with a team of researchers to develop CST. The impetus for the test came from data showing that 60 percent of Alzheimer's cases are not diagnosed in the primary care setting, and that those delays lead to missed treatment opportunities.

"Early detection is at the forefront of the clinical effort in Alzheimer's research, and application of instruments like CST in the primary care setting is of extreme importance, " said Cannon.

The CST is a brief, interactive online test that works to assess various impairments in functional cognitive domains - in essence, it's a "fitness test" of sorts for the basic functions of thinking and processing information that are affected by Alzheimer's and milder forms of cognitive impairment.

www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/uota-nat031110.php