Growing old is frightening for many simply due to the extensive array of illnesses that come with it. One of those that is often not diagnosed early enough and can affect families really badly is Alzheimer’s. The good news is that a dementia test to determine the onset of Alzheimer’s is about to rolled out. David Cameron will be announcing a scientific breakthrough that will cut the diagnosis time by two thirds, making it easier for patients suffering early signs of dementia to seek help sooner.
Mobile clinics are set to be put onto the road so people have easier access to the dementia tests, which can also be carried out by GP’s on their iPads. The assessment means a series of tests will show results within ten minutes. Once a GP or mobile clinic assesses a patient, and there appears to be a reason for concern, the person is then referred for further testing, of which results come back in 6 months or less, as opposed to 18 months before which saw so many patients suffering endless mental agony. Further dementia tests include an MRI scan and memory tests that delve deeper.
Experts in mental diseases such as dementia believe that those suffering the early stages will be afforded a slightly longer and more productive lives if they diagnosis was quicker. Currently there are 400 000 people who have been diagnosed through dementia tests, but they have to wait for 18 months for it to be confirmed. The new technology, which is being fully endorsed by the Prime Minister, will give those suffering with memory loss and other symptoms of possible Alzheimer’s, the chance to be diagnosed much earlier.
The new breakthrough is a computer program which detects early signs of a shrinking brain and damaged vessels, which all affect memory. Results are then streamed back to the GP.
Cameron is 100% behind the breakthrough that government is now investing in the mobile diagnostic clinics, making them available outside GP offices for dementia tests. The idea is to help the elderly have access at their fingertips.
The medical society is quite excited about this breakthrough and together with the government they are launching a campaign to detect and treat Alzheimer’s, with the same aggressiveness as they have shown towards AIDS in the eighties and nineties.
It appears that nearly seven out of ten people who have had dementia tests in the UK still do not know their results, 18 months down the line. Effective diagnosis in a reasonable about of time means a more productive life for sufferers. Dealing with the agony of memory loss and other symptoms involved with dementia, but not knowing exactly what it is, is devastating. Dementia tests are improving and that means lives are improving.
Early intervention means that those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will have more time to seek help, and prepare for their future care. Trial clinics will run in Sussex with the mobile clinics at GP offices. If it proves to be a success, the project will then be taken nationwide with dementia tests at clinics being available to everyone.
Vida Denning is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on a wide variety of topics. Her recent research for Clinical Research assistant jobs led her to this great topic.