Can a New Checklist Help Identify Cognitive Decline?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.7 million people in the United States live with dementia. However, a new analysis out of John Hopkins Medicine reveals that nearly 60 percent of older adults with probable dementia are either undiagnosed or unaware of their diagnosis.
“If dementia is less severe and people are better able to perform day-to-day tasks independently, symptoms of cognitive loss are more likely masked, especially for patients who visit the doctor without a family member or friend who may be more aware of the patient’s symptoms.”
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Can a Checklist Help Identify Early Symptoms of Dementia?
Just last year a collaboration of experts introduced a Mild Behavioral Impairment Checklist (MBI-C) to the medical community. It’s designed to be used primarily by family members and close informants to better describe and measure behavioral changes in older adults that might precede the onset of dementia. So could it help diagnose cognitive decline faster and more efficiently?
The eighteen subject matter experts who participated in the development of the tool are hopeful. The MBI-C is the first of its kind to be introduced to the medical community. It is based on the International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment – Alzheimer’s Association (ISTAART-AA) criteria and offers an easily digestible 34-question list that can easily be completed by a patient, family member, friend or clinician.
The questions are divided into five distinct categories, or domains, and then the checklist is scored in a way that factors severity. The five domains are:
1) Decreased motivation
2) Emotional dysregulation
3) Impulse dyscontrol
4) Social inappropriateness
5) Abnormal perception or thought content
While the creators of the test don’t specify a distinct cut-off when it comes to dementia or not, it’s very clear that a higher score is associated with more symptoms of dementia than a lower score – and would suggest an accompanied visit to the doctor’s office for follow up.
If you are concerned about the mental health of a friend or loved one, you can find it below*.
Majority of older adults with probable dementia are likely unaware they have it, study suggests. News Release. Johns Hopkins Medicine. July 2018.
Ismail Z, et al. The Mild Behavioral Impairment Checklist (MBI-C): A Rating Scale for Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Pre-Dementia Populations. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;56(3):929-938.
Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”