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Dementia test lost to copyright claim

Dementia test lost to copyright claim
11th October 2010

One of the most useful tests for dementia diagnosis is being phased out of medical textbooks due to a copyright issue, a doctor claims.

Writing in the Financial Times, Dr Sophie Harrison says that the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) is one of the most effective ways of doing a non-stressful test for dementia at the patient's bedside.

The test asks patients to spell words backwards and draw certain shapes - simple tasks that can be used to determine a person's cognitive ability.

Yet Dr Harrison says that it is no longer being taught to doctors as it has now been copyrighted by an American firm.

"There is no distinctive rash, no unequivocal test for dementia (though brain scans can be helpful) so bedside tests like the MMSE are important for diagnosis," Dr Harrison writes in the publication.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, around 60,000 deaths each year are directly attributable to dementia.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.