Scientists have developed a new tool that tracks brain performance in adults and may help identify people who are prone to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.
Dementia is a growing problem worldwide with many undiagnosed cases. Although there is no cure, potential treatments are being tested and some risk factors, such as diet and exercise, can be addressed to delay onset.
The tool, called QuoCo (cognitive quotient), could be used by healthcare professionals, especially family physicians, to monitor cognitive decline in patients before irreversible damage occurs.
"Similar to 'growth charts' used in pediatrics, the QuoCo cognitive charts allow physicians to plot cognitive performance of any patient based on age and education, and track cognitive change over time," said Robert Laforce, from Universite Laval in Canada.
"This would allow physicians to intervene and potentially treat an older adult who 'fell off' the curve," said Laforce.
"Early detection of cognitive impairment remains our best approach to disease management before irreversible brain damage occurs. Family physicians are in a key position to contribute to this approach; however, they are ill-equipped," he said.
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