Early testing for Alzheimer's may now be possible with a rapid test developed by a team of researchers.
The Emory University team has developed a brief three-minute cognitive screening test, called the Mini-Cog ie MC, with a Functional Activities Questionnaire ie FAQ - administered to a family member or friend - could accurately identify individuals with 'mild cognitive impairment' ie MCI - often the earliest stage of AD and undiagnosed dementia.
"Since current medications can only delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease but are not able to reverse its devastating effects, a test like this is key to help individuals detect this devastating disease earlier and maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible," James Lah, MD, associate professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine and lead investigator of the study said.
The instrument called the MC-FAQ used in the test to detect the disease helped in correctly classifying the 204 participating elderly individuals as cognitively normal, demented, or mildly cognitively impaired with a high degree of accuracy of around 83 percent.
Although viewing of MCI is notoriously difficult and typically requires 40-60 minutes or more of formal neuropsychological testing to achieve 80 percent accuracy or higher, accuracy for classifying people as MCI with the MC-FAQ was 74 percent, according to Lah.
"While this may not seem overly impressive, it is quite remarkable for a 3-minute investment, the MC-FAQ is also extremely inexpensive, easy to administer and score, and requires no special training," he said.
The study has been published in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.