Researchers have fine-tuned the standard test to detect dementia so that it can be used to detect disease and related diseases early. The test called National Institute of Ageing's Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's disease's 10-word list (CWL) needs only ten minutes to administer.
Researchers had focused on mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia as these stages often go undetected. They used a standardized diagnostic criterion along with noting on history, physical examination, studies of neuro-images etc on 471 subjects.
The researchers then had used correspondence analysis to derive a weighted score for each person. These scores were used with logistic regression to predict each person's probability of impairment.
The results showed that correspondence analysis scores could significantly predict early setting of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.
The study is important as early detection of such diseases often can lead to early treatment and the patient may not need to be institutionalized at all. Such a benefit will not only be cost effective, but also will be an important way to be prepared for the spread of the diseas
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, March 2005 issue.