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Quick dementia test trialled by NHS

GPs can now perform a 10 minute memory test that could pick up on the early stages of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia leading to treatment that could allow patients to live independently and work for longer.

The test, being piloted in NHS Walsall, helps distinguish between normal levels of forgetfulness and the more serious memory lapses that can indicate the early onset of dementia.

Using a touch screen computer or iPad, patients are asked to memorise the location of six objects on screen then recall them a few seconds later.

The test is also easy to administer and can be carried out by nurses and other surgery staff, allowing doctors more time to carry out other duties. Barbara Sahakian, the Cambridge University professor who helped pioneer the CANTAB mobile test said that to catch the maximum amount of dementia sufferers early, everyone over 65 should be tested with the software.

Research also shows that the test is highly accurate, despite only taking a few minutes.

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