A New Way To Assess The Progression Of Alzheimer’s
February 24, 2010
Professor Rachelle Doody, working with a team of researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, has developed an assessment that reliably predicts future performance in cognition and activities of daily living for patients with Alzheimer's disease. "Patients and families frequently ask clinicians to predict expected rates of cognitive and functional decline, and clinicians currently have little basis for making such decisions,” said the professor. “We've found that a simple, calculated progression rate at the initial visit gives reliable information regarding performance over time. The slowest progression group also survives longer." The researchers, whose findings are published in BioMed Central's open access journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, followed 597 patients over 15 years to identify factors associated with slow, intermediate and rapid progression. They used a wide combination of standardized tests and scales to assess the ability of their method to predict abilities including memory, language, arithmetic and judgment/problem solving as well as the performance of daily skills over time. In addition to potential use in doctor’s offices, the team's system of classification may also help in structuring future research into AD.