Cambridge Cognition (a leading British developer of neuropsychological tests) and IXICO (a leading brain imaging specialist), have developed tools which promise to assist in achieving more accurate and rapid dementia assessments. Their innovations consist of (i) the Dementia Friendly GP Surgery and (ii) the Brain Health Centre of the Future. Earlier diagnosis should enable patients and families to access the care they need without delay, and facilitate their planning for the future.
“Fewer than half of the estimated 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK currently have a firm diagnosis. The Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge aims to see this rise to 80 per cent. The traditional path to diagnosing dementia is long and slow, often taking up to 18 months”.
Read more and view the videos: The Brain Health Centre.
A pilot programme aims to cut the delay in dementia diagnosis to three months by applying Cambridge Cognition’s digital assessment tools in combination with other state-of the-art technologies from IXICO. Mobile units which visit local communities and GP practices can greatly speed-up cognitive assessments. These technologies permit appropriate fast track referrals and improve access to specialist care which would otherwise be available only for families able to travel to remote regional centres of excellence.
The pilot involves 200 patients in south London and Sussex. Patients who visit their GPs are given an iPad, and asked to carry out a 10-minute CANTABmobile™ test, the results of which are used to determine whether a more thorough investigation for dementia is appropriate; whether by referral to a Brain Health Centre based in a NHS Memory Clinic, or to a mobile community Brain Health unit-based service in Sussex which permits more detailed CANTABmobile™ test results to be taken and an MRI scan.
MRI scans help in the quantitative assessment of brain shrinkage. These measurements are combined with results from memory and other tests to determine whether dementia is present, and of which type. This should help clinicians to adopt the most effective treatments, ideally to prevent undue worsening of dementia symptoms and avoid complications such as stroke. The project is expected to deliver significantly lower costs in terms of NHS and social care, plus increased efficiency with fewer delays. The Alzheimer’s Society is supporting the project.
From iPad to pod – cutting the wait in dementia and brain health assessment: computerised cognitive testing by Cambridge Cognition and IXICO. Memory Clinic and Brain Health Centre Pilot. Cambridge: Cambridge Cognition and IXICO, March 2013.
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 7, May 2013].