New Cognitive Test Accurately Detects Alzheimer's Disease

Test demonstrates greater sensitivity than the mini-mental state examination

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- A new self-administered and concise cognitive test developed at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, U.K., can detect Alzheimer's disease with 93 percent sensitivity, according to a study published online June 9 in BMJ.

Jeremy Brown, M.D, of Addenbrooke's Hospital, and colleagues gave the two-page, ten-task TYM ("test your memory") cognitive test to 139 patients (108 with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment and 31 with other forms of dementia) attending a memory clinic and to 540 control group subjects for comparison. The TYM test results also were compared with the results of two standard Alzheimer's disease tests, the mini-mental state examination and the Addenbrooke's cognitive examination.

The researchers found that patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease averaged 33/50 on the TYM compared to 47/50 for the control group subjects. In the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, a TYM score of less than or equal to 42/50 had a sensitivity of 93 percent and specificity of 86 percent. The TYM was found to be more sensitive in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease than the mini-mental state examination (93 versus 52 percent).

"In this cross sectional study, the new "test your memory" test was quick to use and detected 93 percent of cases of Alzheimer's disease. Control participants completed the TYM quickly and accurately. From the age of 18 to 70 the average score was stable at 47/50, with a small decline after this age. Scores on all subsets of the TYM deteriorated with age, with the exception of semantic knowledge (these questions were designed for older patients)," the authors write.

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