Not only did the instrument confirm established diagnoses, it was also able to distinguish people with MCI from those with full-blown dementia, meaning it was able to pick up on subtle differences in function.
The results also weren't highly influenced by occupation and education levels, as are existing tests.
"This is really the first step in development the instrument," Farias said. "What we're really interested in doing is to track people over time to get a better understanding of the early signs of functional impairment."
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SOURCES: Sarah Tomaszewski Farias, Ph.D., assistant professor, neurology, University of California, Davis, Medical Center, Sacramento; Gary J. Kennedy, M.D., director, geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Scott Turner, M.D., incoming director, Memory Disorders Program, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; July 2008, Neuropsychology