A machine learning method analyzing large amounts of health information has potential in assessing the risk of cognitively healthy older people for later dementia, according to research. The new risk assessment tool also presents the individual risk profile in a quickly interpretable visual form.
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IOS Press. “New tool to help predict dementia risk in older people.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161208101641.htm>.
The world’s largest dementia research experiment, which takes the form of a video game, has indicated the ability to navigate declines throughout life.
Getting lost is one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and the researchers at University College London believe the results presented at the 2016 Neuroscience Conference could help makea test for dementia.
Sea Hero Quest is a nautical adventure to save an old sailor’s lost memories.
The game anonymously records the player’s sense of direction and navigational ability through each level. Players have to weave through waterways and fire a flare back home as well as memorising a sequence of buoys.
Data harnessed from the flare levels suggests that sense of direction declines consistently after the teenage years. Players aged 19 were 74% accurate at firing the flare back home, but accuracy fell year by year until it reached 46% at age 75.
The point of the research is to develop a way of diagnosing dementia in its earliest stages – something not yet possible.
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Citation: BBC News, 2016
The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics (LSE) has developed a web tool for accessing scientific evidence on dementia care and treatment.
Recently launched, the Dementia Evidence Toolkit is a unique resource bringing together over 3,000 empirical journal articles and 700 systematic reviews. Each of these articles and reviews is coded according to type of dementia, care setting, outcome measured, type of intervention and country of study or authors.
The Toolkit was developed as part of the MODEM (Modelling the Outcome and Cost Impacts of Interventions for Dementia) project. It provides clear, evidence-based information in the public domain with plain-language summaries of scientific evidence relating to dementia care and treatment interventions.
The summaries of interventions cover: advance care planning; staff training in assisted living residences (STAR); maintenance cognitive stimulation therapy; cognitive stimulation therapy; music therapy; and START: Strategies for Relatives. Each summary gives a rating for the intervention, focusing on the following: whether or not it worked, was cost-effective, and the strength of evidence. The Toolkit also suggests future research.
See here for further information from LSE: http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2016/08/Dementia-toolkit.aspx
Researchers, from the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, asked 48 men and women with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) questions about their quality of life and personal outlook following diagnosis.
The so-called ‘Silver Lining Questionnaire’ was used to measure the degree to which people with an early dementia diagnosis felt their illness had a positive impact on their lives.
Almost half the respondents returned positive scores for the questions which covered issues such as their appreciation and acceptance of life.
For more on this study, which was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto, go to the University of Kentucky News
A recently published study has investigated the diagnostic test accuracy of two informant tools when used to diagnose dementia in patients with delirium.
It is common for older hospital patients to have both dementia and delirium; the latter is often undiagnosed as the delirium interferes with the use of cognitive testing for diagnosing dementia.
The study cites the need for new tests given the confounding effect of delirium.
The tools tested were the IQCODE-SF and the AD8 (when used for diagnosing DSM-IV dementia).
As part of the study, on admission to hospital, people aged over 70 were assessed for the presence of dementia using the short form of the Informant Questionnaire of Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE-SF) and Alzheimer’s Disease 8 (AD8).
The conclusions drawn from the results were that the IQCODE-SF and AD8 are sensitive and specific tools, able to detect prior dementia in older people with delirium. The authors suggest that the routine use of either tool in practice could improve the recognition and subsequent management of those with dementia.
Jackson, T. A., MacLullich, A. M. J., Gladman, J. R. F., Lord, J. M., and Sheehan, B. (2016) ‘Diagnostic test accuracy of informant-based tools to diagnose dementia in older hospital patients with delirium: a prospective cohort study’, Age and Ageing, pp. 45: 505-511.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has published statistics on dementia. These statistics focus on five strategic aspects of dementia care:
- Post-Diagnostic Support.
- Living Well With Dementia.
- Mortality Associated With Dementia.
- Diagnosed prevalence increased from 643 per 100,000 in April 2014 to 755 per 100,000 in December 2015, which is 423,000 diagnoses out of 56.0m registered patients.
- 39 per cent of carers spent 100 or more hours each week looking after or caring for a person with dementia, with 52 per cent spending 50 hours or more per week.
Dementia and mortality
For more information visit the HSCIC website.
Click here to read the full report.
Researchers, from University College London (UCL), have developed an algorithm that uses information routinely collected by GPs to predict the risk of dementia.
The study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), identified 930,395 patients with no previous records of dementia, cognitive impairment or memory problems. These patients’ records were used by researchers to build a simple computer algorithm which predicts the likelihood of dementia being diagnosed within five years.
Lead researcher, Dr Kate Walters (UCL Primary Care & Population Health), said the score could be used for identifying people at a very low risk of dementia.
University College London (2016) New test could predict dementia risk during routine GP visits. Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0116/210116-dementia-risk-test#sthash.lG1ehzRj.dpuf
Image (courtesy of Ann Gordon via Flickr)