Differentiating memory loss from dementia is not as complicated as it seems. What’s interesting is that questionnaires can help determine whether an individual is at risk of developing dementia or is experiencing something as normal as age-related memory loss. The findings are incredibly useful and can also detect whether an individual is showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s diseases. But the real problem here is to determine whether these findings are accurate or useful at all. To learn more about it, read on.

Understanding the Procedure and Its Necessity

These questionnaires mostly track the patterns of repetitive speech and an individual’s orientation to time. The purpose of these tests is to assess functional capacity, language, memory, visuo-spatial competence and orientation through a series of ‘yes or no’ questions. On the 21-item questionnaire, patients having trouble remembering certain dates, months or years are most likely to suffer from mild cognitive impairment which then leads to dementia and other related diseases.

Differentiating mild cognitive impairment from memory loss rather than the usual functional domains is quite challenging, not to mention time–consuming as well. Brief screening tools are hence essential as the population of aged individuals’ increases on a daily basis. This makes it important for individuals to find out whether they are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Most importantly, identifying the disease in its early stages can have a considerable impact on limiting the disease’s outcome.

What Have These Studies Concluded?

Researchers who conducted a pilot study noted good responses from the participants as they showed improved specificity and sensitivity to the questionnaire. The primary goal was to record the responses of the informants or the caregiver regarding aspects like cognitive concerns and memory. In order to verify the accuracy of the questionnaire, the researchers compared the responses amongst the participants who were originally diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and with those who were participating in programs involving posthumous body and brain donations.

Cognitive impairment was primarily clinically diagnosed with the help of neuropsychological testing. The results showed scores for memory call measures fell below the normal ranges of standard deviations. On the other hand, participants with normal cognitive functioning scored higher than the standard deviations on the neuropsychological tests.

The participants from the cognitive impairment group mostly answered ‘yes’ to all questions. Apart from disorientation of time and the repetition of speech, the regression analysis also determined that two questions were quite predictable. These two questions dealt with the individual’s financial situation while the other asked whether the participant had an impaired sense of reasoning and direction. Researchers went on to conclude these problems were mostly accompanied with memory lapses due to amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

Are These Studies Accurate?

As interesting as the findings are, the pilot study does have its limitations. For starters, there could have been a bias during the R2 approximations. On the other hand, the confidence intervals were wide for the primary four items’ odd ratios while the study groups were ethnically the same thus affecting the accuracy of the case study.

As effective as it may seem, the questionnaire does have its drawbacks. But then again it does make it easier for patients to diagnose themselves for dementia related diseases. Moreover, it could be the first step towards understanding Alzheimer’s disease. The findings have proven to be incredibly useful and will further assist researchers and scientists in discovering more about its causes as well as a cure. Until then these researchers unanimously agree that individuals should avoid any and all behaviors related to chronic diseases which could trigger the development of Alzheimer’s and other related diseases.