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GPs 'could identify Alzheimer's with quick memory test'

GPs 'could identify Alzheimer's with quick memory test'
7th September 2011

A ten-minute memory test could identify individuals with Alzheimer's, doctors believe.

The test, which can be taken using a touch-screen computer or iPad, is able to distinguish between people who are typically forgetful and those in the early stages of dementia.

The Cambridge University-developed Cantab Pal tests the hippocampus, which remembers trivial everyday details such as where door keys have been left.

During the picture-based test, which could be carried out in GP surgeries, the individual is asked to recall the location of different icons which appear briefly.

The test has been found to be 95 per cent accurate at telling Alzheimer's patients from those with Mild Cognitive Impairment, while distinguishing those who are simply forgetful.

It was found to detect people with cognitive impairment up to 32 months before they received an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Dementia remains an undiagnosed condition in many people, meaning that they cannot access the help they need.

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