New Test to Discover Signs of Cognitive Impairment

A newly developed test could shine a light on potential cognitive impairment ahead of any visible symptoms, offering invaluable insight into risk factors for the future.

The test that involves using cards could open the door to earlier detection of cognitive impairment, potentially allowing for preventive measures to be taken before any symptoms arise. It is already being recommended as part of regular checkups for those over 45 years old. The simple but powerful screening tool has experts hopeful that it can help reduce rates of dementia in the near future.

It is a reliable memory test which can predict the risk of dementia in people who appear to be cognitively healthy. This cutting-edge study provides promising evidence that it is possible to detect subtle signs of early impairment, even when there are no outward symptoms present at first glance.

Researchers set out to investigate the effects of age on memory with the help of 969 participants, whose average age was 69. The study included a two-phase test. First, the individuals were asked to identify four items belonging to particular categories, and secondy, their ability to recall such information. Those who did not remember certain components were provided with category cues which measured their storage capabilities over time, allowing for further analysis across a period 10 years.

The study utilized the Stages of Objective Memory Impairment (SOMI) system to classify participants into five stages, ranging from zero – no memory difficulty – to four. 47% had stage zero impairment, 35% were in stage one and two combined while the highest impaired level; three and four occupied only a total 5%. It was revealed that those with levels one or two challenges can recall memories when given cues which may appear up to 8 years before dementia is impending. Those classified at stages 3 & 4 are predicted by scientists as likely having just 1-3 more years until manifesting signs of cognitive decline. Out of 969 patients observed, 234 ended up developing cognitive impairment over time

After carefully accounting for environmental and genetic factors, researchers found that those at stages one or two of SOMI were twice as likely to experience cognitive decline than the zero stage. Even more alarming was that people in the three or four phases faced a greater risk that was 3x higher compared with non-SOMI citizens. Remarkably, after taking biomarkers into account such as amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles, this predictive model maintained its effectiveness.

The findings suggest that the SOMI system is an effective tool for pinpointing individuals prone to cognitive decline. By recognizing impairments early on, researchers can generate pertinent treatments while at-risk people are provided with guidance from their physician and given ample opportunity to maintain a healthy brain throughout aging. Although predicting neurological change over time remains challenging due to limited knowledge of future state based on current measurements – this research demonstrates potential in identifying risks prior to deterioration taking place.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Association of Stages of Objective Memory Impairment With Incident Symptomatic Cognitive Impairment in Cognitively Normal Individuals