New Test for Detecting Alzheimer's and Dementia

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, and 200,000 are under 65.
1:34 | 08/12/13

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Transcript for New Test for Detecting Alzheimer's and Dementia
And at one time or another, nearly everyone worries about forgetfulness, memory loss what is serious and what is not. Well, tonight, abc's linzie davis shows us a new test revealed today using famous faces to help make that distinction. Reporter: Take a guess, what's this person's name? Recognize this person? Now, what about this person makes them famous? Turns out these faces may help predict if you'll develop dementia. Here's how it works -- researchers at northwestern medicine showed 20 celebrity faces one at a time. Can you name him? Right, if you said albert einstein that's two points. Now why was he famous? Think it through. If you said, "scientist," or even, "e=mc 2" then you get another two points. Two groups took the test, and reliably, those with dementia clearly struggled for answers a lot more than those without. We're trying to better understand dementia and identify them earlier and earlier. If we think about heart disease, for example, we don't like to treat someone after they had a heart attack. We try to intervene earlier. Reporter: Dementia, a slow decline in overall mental ability and memory -- most commonly shows up as alzheimer's disease, which is steadily growing. By 2025, it's estimated more than 7 million will have it. By 2050, it's almost 14 million. Diagnosing dementia early gives doctors a head start and a familiar face like this one, just might provide a clue. Linzie davis, abc news, new york.

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