Rapid Detection of MCI and Dementia


As the number of individuals with dementia is increasing year by year, it is now more important than ever that this condition is detected early on. This early detection is extremely important for those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. MCI causes a minor but noticeable detection in cognitive abilities. Individuals with this condition have a higher chance of developing different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. Nowadays, it is more common to use computerised cognitive tests rather than pencil and paper tests, in part because it allows for a wide range of screenings.

However, previous research has shown that it is difficult to find a computerised cognitive test battery (a set of tests designed to be administered as a unit to obtain an assessment of cognitive function) which can detect both MCI and dementia. Therefore, researchers at Kanazawa University, in Japan, carried out a study which aimed to develop a computerised cognitive test battery which could detect dementia and MCI quickly. They also aimed to validate this new computerised assessment battery for cognition (C-ABC) which would be able to detect with high sensitivity dementia and MCI in older individuals. 

Of the 701 patients involved in the study, 422 were diagnosed with dementia, 145 were diagnosed with MCI, and 134 individuals had normal cognition. The C-ABC procedure can be seen in the figure below. 

Details of the computerised test battery.
Source: Noguchi-Shinohara et al. A new computerized assessment battery for cognition (C-ABC) to detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia around 5 min.

The results of this study showed that the C-ABC only took around five minutes to complete. This proves to be very important as previous work has shown that other cognition batteries have taken around 30 minutes. This time reduction could be crucial for those diagnosed with MCI and dementia. This study also showed that C-ABC had high sensitivities and specificities in detecting dementia and MCI in individuals. Item’s 3 and 6 in the figure above (which take 2 minutes to complete) showed a higher diagnostic accuracy when detecting dementia in comparison to the completed C-ABC score. 

There are some limitations associated with this study. The sample size of this study was relatively small and would need to be larger for reproducibility purposes, and to determine if the C-ABC test can be applied broadly across many different individuals. As items 3 and 6 provided results which showed that they had higher accuracies in detecting dementia in comparison to the combined score of the C-ABC, a study should be further completed at a larger scale to display the ‘utility’ of these items. 

This study has successfully achieved its aims in developing a novel C-ABC test that is able to detect MCI and dementia older adults. This test also operates at high levels of sensitivity and specificity, and can be conducted in around 5 minutes. The study also displayed that dementia can actually be detected in around 2 minutes. These test times are a massive improvement from previous tests which last around 30 minutes. The results of this study may prove incredibly useful in clinical settings. 

Featured Image : Forbes, Misha Gajewski (2021): “people with dementia twice as likely…”.

Original Source : Noguchi-Shinohara M, Domoto C, Yoshida T, Niwa K, Yuki-Nozaki S, Samuraki-Yokohama M et al. A new computerized assessment battery for cognition (C-ABC) to detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia around 5 min. PLOS ONE. 

Edited by Cyrus Rohani-Shukla

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