An early diagnostic test for signs of dementia has been developed by Cambridge University, and is currently being trialed in GP’s surgeries. The test is based on people’s ability to recall lists of items and the location of objects. A bit like remembering your shopping list or recalling all the objects on the “Generation Game” conveyer belt, if you can remember that far back.
If successful it could be the basis of a national screening programme. This has to be good news, because it is estimated that 60% of people with dementia never receive a diagnosis and consequently get no help to cope.
Early diagnosis will not be welcome news for the individual concerned but it does mean they can get disease modifying drugs like Aricept which delay the onset of the illness. It gives sufferers and their relatives time to plan for the future. It may also buy time for new preventative drugs to be developed.
There are more than 800,000 dementia sufferers in the UK, and this number is expected to double by 2040. It is essential that diagnosis and early treatment is improved, this is definitely a move in the right direction.