What was the name again?

By Rohini Rangarajan
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- (Credit: Diya)Test your memory, detect the presence of Alzheimer's early

trouble remembering names and events might simply be a case of forgetfulness. Now if the person were also to have difficulty working with numbers and remembering words and be unable to concentrate, it might not be so simple. Today 24 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's, a disease best characterized by memory loss and the inability to perceive things around.

Tests for Alzheimer's should take care of three criteria: taking minimum time to administer, testing a range of cognitive skills and detecting even a mild form of Alzheimer's. The test commonly available is called the Mini-Mental State Examination. But it time can only be given by trained clinicians. Jeremy Brown and team, from the department of neurology, Addenbrooke Hospital, UK, have devised a questionnaire-based test.It is called Test Your Memory (tym) and does not need to be administered by trained people. It also meets all three criteria a test needs to.

540 normal people and 108 patients with Alzheimer's took the test. There were tasks which included remembering their name, birthday, age, famous people and events. The patients were also tested on vocabulary, their ability to calculate and their memory.

Of a total of 50, the average score for a normal person was 47, and that for a patient was 33. Of the 108, 85 suffered from advanced Alzheimer's, 23 were in the early stages, said the study in the June 9 issue of the British Medical Journal. The results are promising but Jeremy Brown cautioned: "The tym is a screening test, not a diagnostic one. There may be several causes for a low score." "This test is for the English-speaking population. In India its role is yet to be seen as it has to be translated and adapted," said D Nagaraja, director, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru.

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