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The earlier Alzheimer’s disease is detected the more benefit a patient will gain from available treatments. Unfortunately, it isn’t until overt signs of a decline in cognitive ability, that threaten a person’s well being, is the individual brought into a clinic for testing.

Testing for early signs of Alzheimer’s usually require assessing the person’s cognitive ability. The test is typically an hour-and-a-half and taken either by computer or by pen and paper. Because of the cost and length of the test it is not usually given as a part of an annual checkup.

A new device developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University may allow patients to take a brief, inexpensive test that could be given as part of a yearly checkup. The device is called DETECT and administers a 10 minute test designed to gage reaction time and memory functions that, when impaired, are associated with the early onset of Alzheimer’s. One of the advantages is that a person’s physician has a record of the patient’s cognitive ability tracked over years alerting the doctor to any significant changes.

Home-Based assessment tool for dementia screening.