New Alzheimer's Test Called TYM
Yesterday the British Medical Journal published research on a new Alzheimer’s test called TYM. The test can be self administered. The new Alzheimer's disease test is designed to evaluate cognitive ability.
The new test is called “Test Your Memory" or TYM. It is not considered a diagnostic test for Alzheimer's. It has only been tested in one clinical scenario, but the researchers feel that it has shown great promise in early screening of the disease and could be used in monitoring response to treatment.
The study involved 540 people, 18 to 95 years old, who had no history of neurological disease, memory problems or brain injury. It also included 139 people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairment. All were given the TYM, the new test for Alzheimer’s, as well as two other commonly used cognitive tests, the mini-mental state examination and the Addenbrooke's cognitive examination-revised.
The TYM Alzheimer's test includes 10 tasks such as the ability to copy a sentence, the ability to determine word meanings, the ability to do calculations, and recall. An example of a TYM question might be to name four animals that begin with the letter “S”. Each task can earn the test-taker a maximum of 50 points.
The people who had no history of mental problems took less time to finish than those with a history of Alzheimer’s. Their average score was also higher (47 compared to 33).
The TYM requires less time to do than the other tests. It identified 93 percent of those with Alzheimer's, whereas the mini-mental state examination identified only 52 percent of the people with Alzheimer's. If this holds true in follow up studies, it could mean that the new Alzheimer's test TYM is more sensitive than the mini-mental state exam in Alzheimer’s patients.
Self administered cognitive screening test (TYM) for detection of Alzheimer’s disease: cross sectional study; Published 9 June 2009, doi:10.1136/bmj.b2030 ( BMJ 2009;338:b2030)