Alzheimer’s disease till now is diagnosed mainly after death with a brain biopsy. Dr. P Soloman, from Willians College , Williamstown, MA, and colleagues recruited 60 elderly with memory problems and asked them to take a series of tests involving date and time, remembering items on flash cards, and naming different animals all in a specified amount of time.
The test took an average of 7 minutes and 42 seconds. Those diagnosed Alzheimer’s later scored worse on the short battery of tests than those free of the disease. This 7 minute screening appears to be highly sensitive to Alzheimer’s and may be useful in helping to make distinction between those experiencing cognitive changes related to normal aging and those with cognitive deficits from Alzheimer’s. Before recommending this test as a routine procedure it needs to be tested on a larger group of people and then field tested in doctors’ clinics.