A simple-to-use computer-based test that measures a person's ability to select animals in photographs can be a more effective means of detecting signs of early dementia than standard pen and paper tests, according to a new study.
In a study published in Nature on Thursday, the visual processing test, called the integrated cognitive evaluation, can be used as a valid and reliable tool to evaluate your cognitive activities. This test was developed by British company Cognetivity Inc., headquartered in Vancouver, North America.
The authors of the natural study, including Cognetivity's CEO Sina Habibi, point out that current tests used regularly to test neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and other types of dementia depend on user language skills and education. This means that patients who do not speak English as the first language may also not work if they are checked in English rather than in their native language. In addition, standard desk and paper checks are usually "suffering from learning bias", writes the authors. Namely, patient indicators may improve in practice and thus may not reflect changes in brain function.
These current paper tests include a psychological examination, a cognitive test of Addenbrooke, and a cognitive evaluation of Montreal. The last test, developed by neurologist Ziad Nasreddine in Montreal, last year attracted considerable media attention when US President Donald Trump announced it with a perfect result. It includes a series of tasks such as clock drawing and animal naming.
To address the shortcomings of these conventional tests, there have been a number of digital cognitive tests that are possible substitutions, including Cognetivity's integrated cognitive assessment.
"What we really hope we've developed here, and we think we've developed it here, is a very useful tool that can make a difference," said Thomas Sawyer, chief operating officer at Cognetivity. “It is easy to manage, free from many other problems [associated with standard screening tests], so we think it's a pretty important tool that can be used to really help [an] early diagnosis. ”
The test assumes that the participants have to get acquainted with the black and white photographs that are deleted by the iPad in 100 milliseconds. Participants are asked to touch the left or right side of the screen, depending on whether they see the image of the animal in the photo.
In the Nature Study, researchers asked 448 participants to check. They then compared the participants' test results with a series of standard pen and paper tests.
Dr. Habibi and Dr. Sawyer explained that their test is based on research showing that visual processing problems can be a sign of earlier dementia than memory problems that not only occur later but are also subjective. Because of the difficulty in finding animals in photos, from the bear in the center of the photo to the bird in the bush, the test can be used to detect those with very early cognitive impairment.
Habibi said that his business tool is intended as part of a regular doctor's examination. If the patient's computerized index falls in the red or yellow area, their doctor may ask them to repeat the test or send them to a memory clinic or specialist to carry out further tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to achieve diagnosis. .
"Dementia, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's is now very, very complicated, and it is very expensive," said Dr. Habibi. By providing an easy way for patients to check out, he says he hopes people with dementia can be diagnosed much earlier.
He added that the tool can also be used for research to see how well participants respond to different procedures. Following a clinical validation study to be completed by the beginning of 2020, the company will request approval from a Canadian healthcare facility.