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New app 'could boost dementia diagnosis'

New app 'could boost dementia diagnosis'
10th July 2014

A new app has been developed that could aid in delivering a swifter diagnosis for individuals suffering from dementia in the UK.

Based on the widely-used Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination III (ACE-III) test, researchers from Plymouth in the UK and Sydney, Australia have developed an iPad app that is free to use for clinicians.

Called ACEmobile,  the new app could significantly reduce diagnosis timeframes, as when the paper and pencil test is administered it requires the doctor to have familiarised themselves with a large manual to interpret the results.

However, when using ACEmobile, this process is carried out automatically and creates a bespoke report that can be added to a patient's records.

Dr Laura Phipps, science communications manager at Alzheimer's Research UK, commented: "With more people visiting their doctor with memory concerns, healthcare professionals are under pressure to make an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible.

"Any system that can improve the reliability of diagnosis, as well as helping clinical staff to feel more confident in making assessments, should be welcomed."

She added that the test has not been designed for use by the general public, but instead could prove to be a useful diagnostic tool for GPs. It was officially launched yesterday (July 9th) for clinicians in the UK.

Figures from the Alzheimer's Society reveal that more than 800,000 people have been diagnosed with this condition in the UK, while this figure is forecast to grow to more than one million individuals by 2021.

One in three people are forecast to develop dementia at some point in their lifetime, with the risk considerably increased once individuals pass the age of 65.

However, dementia diagnosis rates in the UK continue to be a sticky subject, as up to half of people who currently have the condition may not be diagnosed. The Alzheimer's Society states there are widespread disparities across different parts of the country in terms of the level of diagnosis.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes