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Dementia risk can be assessed with simple test

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 10 months ago

Researchers have developed a test called Stages of Objective Memory Impairment (SOMI), which can identify dementia risk in older adults years before symptoms of memory loss or thinking impairment appear. The test involves showing patients a series of images and asking them to recall what they have seen. Participants are then ranked according to five stages of risk, with Stage 0 indicating no memory issues and low future dementia risk, and Stage 4 representing the least reliable memory and the highest degree of future dementia risk. A new study shows that those classified as either Stage 3 or 4 face three times greater risk for dementia than those classified as Stage 0. SOMI can identify cognitively normal individuals who are at high risk for clinical progression to dementia. Testing of this kind could help identify ways to mitigate risk and assist research efforts that seek to develop new treatments that might slow down or prevent mental impairment. The study involved 969 men and women between the ages of 40 and 100, with an average age of 69. Over the ensuing decade, 234 of the participants developed some degree of thinking impairment. The study findings were published online April 19 in the journal Neurology. While the SOMI test differentiates itself from other tests by its ability to detect subtle memory deficits that often accompany the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease, early detection requires a comprehensive evaluation that involves not only memory screenings but also neurological and imaging tests. The study focused primarily on white and well-educated individuals, making it hard to generalize the findings to a more diverse group of patients.

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