I thought this was interesting so I wanted to share.
A visual test might help clinicians flag patients at higher dementia risk, suggests a study in the Annals of Family Medicine.
Researchers followed nearly 2700 patients aged 70 to 78 who didn’t have baseline dementia. At baseline and at 2 years, patients were administered the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE). They also took the Visual Association Test (VAT), a 3-minute test of associative memory using picture cues.
During a median 7 years’ follow-up, 6% of patients received dementia diagnoses. Those who didn’t have a perfect VAT score were at higher risk for dementia than those with a perfect score (odds ratio, 3.14). Patients with both an MMSE decline and imperfect VAT score had the highest risk (OR, 9.14). For those with a 2-point reduction on the MMSE, the risk for dementia increased with an imperfect VAT, from 10% to 14%; for a 3-point MMS reduction plus imperfect VAT, dementia risk increased from 21% to 29%.
The authors conclude that the VAT “can help to distinguish those at increased risk of developing dementia (requiring counseling, additional examination, or both) from those in whom watchful waiting is justified.”