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Published on: June 5, 2012
A NEW breakthrough in dementia testing, developed in Ireland, could indicate the early signs of the disease in less than five minutes.
The Quick Mild Cognitive Impairment (Qmci) screen has been developed and refined by Prof Willie Molloy and Dr Rónán O Caoimh at UCC and St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork.
The details of the test are being presented in a keynote address to the annual conference of AIGNA, the All-Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association, in the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork on Thursday, June 7.
It is a huge advance on standard tests, and aims specifically to discover whether people have mild cognitive impairment (Qmci), such as short-term memory loss, which could lead to dementia.
“People with mild cognitive impairment have variable, subtle changes to their memory, but this can be hard to detect.
“The advantages of the Qmci test are that it is muchshorter, and more accurate than any current standard examinations that are used in the field,” said Prof Molloy.
“Tests in use at the moment are lengthy at up to 20 minutes, and do not pick up mild problems with great accuracy. This is the key to early detection.”
“When people start to develop short-term memory loss, it is often an indication of the start of dementia.
“However, we need to know whether they are developing MCI or dementia, as the treatments are different, and one does not necessarily follow the other.”
Waterford native Prof Molloy was the chair of Ageing at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he spend 30 years carrying out extensive research into advance care directives and cognitive screening.
He collected data for the Qmci test over a six-year period before returning to live in Ireland, at Woodtown in Waterford, and work at his original bases at UCC and St Finbarr’s Hospital, leading a team of four in analysing the data and developing the test.
Prof Molloy and Dr O Caoimh have also been involved in the development of the Qmci App, which will soon be available for the Iphone.
“Taken to its conclusion, GPs will be able to give people an accurate indication of theircognitive ability in less than five minutes”.
“This will mean a lot to the person and their family in choosing the next step on the path.”
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