A new five-minute test has been shown to quickly and effectively diagnose dementia – rivaling longer and more laborious standard diagnostic procedures now used by doctors.
The new test, developed at Florida Atlantic University, can be administered by anyone to determine whether or not an individual has dementia and to what degree with results that are comparable to the "gold standard" dementia tests used by clinicians today.
The "Quick Dementia Rating System" (QDRS), reported in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, uses 10-point questionnaire that reliably differentiates individuals with and without dementia, said the test’s developer James E. Galvin, M.D., a professor of clinical biomedical science at FAU.
"After extensive testing and evaluation of the Quick Dementia Rating System, we have found it to be as effective as the gold standard used today to screen for the five stages of dementia," said Dr. Galvin. "This new tool gives you a lot of power to see the same results as a full screening in a fraction of the time it takes for a complete screening."
The QDRS can be completed by a caregiver, friend, or family member. Scores range from 0 to 30 with higher scores representing greater cognitive impairment.
The questionnaire assesses memory and recall; decision-making and problem-solving abilities; behavior and personality changes; language and communication abilities; mood; attention and concentration; and other cognitive skills.
A study of the QDRS questionnaire on 267 individuals with various forms of dementia found it to be accurate and effective.
"Most patients never receive an evaluation by a neurologist, geriatric psychiatrist, or geriatrician skilled in dementia diagnoses and staging. Early detection will be important to enable future interventions at the earliest stages when they are likely to be most effective," said Dr. Galvin.
"The QDRS has the potential to provide a clearer, more accurate staging for those patients who are unable to see these more specialized clinicians and get them the treatment, referrals, and community services they so desperately need."
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