The early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may be better noticed by family members and friends than physicians, according to findings published in the journal Brain.
When doctors conduct conventional trials on potential Alzheimer’s patients, these individuals are asked to perform tests that analyze their cognitive function. The Ascertain Dementia 8 (AD8) survey, which is the most common nontraditional screening, evaluates a patient’s memory capabilities with the assistance of a close friend or family member.
In order to compare traditional tests with the AD8 questionnaire, researchers examined the results of 251 patients who underwent both the conventional and assisted tests.
The findings showed that because doctors spend limited time with their patients, they may be less likely to diagnose Alzheimer’s symptoms. However, because family members and friends spend more time with these individuals, the AD8 test better diagnosed the early signs of the illness.
“The AD8 appears to be superior to conventional testing in its ability to detect signs of early dementia,” stated John C. Morris, lead author of the trial. He added that these findings don’t explain whether “dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s or other disorders, but it lets us know when there’s a need for more extensive evaluations to answer that question.”
In 2006, approximately 5.3 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and it was the 7th leading cause of the death in 2006, the Alzheimer’s Disease Association reports.