Early Testing Options for Memory Loss and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

By | September 22, 2010

The Alzheimer’s Association released its updated report on the cost of global dementia care, with a whopping headline number of $604 Billion. The report also predicts an 85% increase in dementia care cost during the next 20 years, which means over $1 Trillion by 2030. The developed world will absorb much of this price tag since the annual cost of care in the US is 5x-10x more than in Central America, for example.

Early intervention will be one of the keys in delaying the onset of various forms dementia in the coming years. A low cost, noninvasive approach is baseline cognitive testing for memory performance, and subsequent re-tests to identify any significant changes that could indicate memory problems or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

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There are several well validated computerized cognitive assessment batteries that are available through a physician and other health care professionals. In addition, there are a few paper based tests for memory and cognitive skills that can be used in the home. These paper based tests are a good “first pass” screening tool that can put one’s mind at ease (the “well worried” concept), but are also sensitive enough to pick up signs of cognitive impairment that should be followed up with a physician.

I will provide some detailed information on a few of these home use paper tests in a future post.