Published on: June 8, 2012
by Health Canal:
PD affects one in 100 Australians over the age of 60. Doctors will soon be able to identify the early stages of dementia in the 40 per cent of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients in Australia who later develop the illness.
Researchers at Monash University, in collaboration with the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, are developing a test that can be administered by health professionals to accurately diagnose PD patients who have cognitive problems indicative of preclinical dementia.
Principal investigator Dr Audrey McKinlay, from the School of Psychology and Psychiatry, said treatment before clear symptoms arise could improve quality of life, reduce health care costs for PD patients and alleviate the burden on caregivers.
“The 20-minute testing process would allow health practitioners to identify distinct characteristics, including memory loss, associated with the earliest, or preclinical, stages of dementia in PD patients,” Dr McKinlay said.
“Identifying patients likely to develop dementia is important in early intervention where support can be provided to delay, or help patients to manage, the cognitive decline associated with dementia.
“Early intervention would reduce health care costs associated with home care, and importantly ensures individuals with PD and their families can get the most out of life.”
During a seven-year period PD patients, with no evidence of dementia, were examined. In a trial, the test was able to corretly identify individuals in the preclinical stages of dementia with over 90 per centaccuracy.
Dr McKinlay said there is currently no universally accepted set of tests for detection the cognitive problems in PD that may develop into dementia.
Affecting one in 100 Australians over the age of 60, Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological condition known for its effect on the control of body movements.
Researchers have recently begun to identify cognitive and psychiatric issues and assess the effects on quality of life for the patient and their caregivers.
It is hoped the development of an inexpensive and non-invasive testing program will be implemented by health professionals in the future.
Older people who report greater levels of social engagement have more robust gray matter in regions of the brain relevant in dementia, according to new research led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of...
In a new study, University of Nebraska–Lincoln sociologist Marc A. Garcia explored how educational attainment can benefit cognitive health in later life, and whether there are differences in its benefits among minorities. Garcia and his co-authors...
A genetic variation in some people may be associated with cognitive decline that can’t be explained by deposits of two key proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid β and tau, according to a study...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.