New research is showing 70% accuracy in predicting Alzheimer’s Disease in cognitively “normal” individuals’ years before cognitive decline begins. This was tested using a simple language test with the hope that eventually these results will be utilized to develop and implement diagnostic tests using a simple, inexpensive speech probe. The technology will assist in identifying those at a higher risk of developing the disease and delay and/or slow the disease progression. Here are a few facts:
- Linguistic competence is a behavioral marker of educational and occupational attainment – both suggested to increase “cognitive reserve”
- It is much easier to predict Alzheimer’s Disease in women versus men; prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease is significantly higher in women and cognitive impairment progression is much faster in women
- Results of this type of screening are intended to assist the patient in making lifestyle changes to help delay the cognitive decline; healthy diet, exercise/more physical activity, enhancing social and cognitive activities
This diagnostic test is not yet available for general use and there are many aspects to consider related to testing; for example, language is tied to hearing, so if someone has hearing loss, the test may not be as effective for that person. Studies and research continue and with the use of technology, we may see these diagnostic tests available for use in physician’s offices and even at home in the future!