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CANTAB Mobile: Differentiating between dementia and the worried well

Posted on 18 March 2015

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Over 15,000 patients have now been assessed in the NHS

The recent drive to improve rates of dementia diagnosis has led to record numbers of GP visits and threatens to swamp already stretched memory clinics. However, dementia care experts estimate that 47% of people visiting their doctor with concerns about their memory are likely to be healthy and an additional 15% to have depression and not dementia. Therefore, less than half of patients presenting to primary care worried about their memory should be referred to dementia clinics.

CANTAB Mobile, an automated memory test and depression screen, is now helping over 40 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups effectively distinguish patients with clinically relevant memory problems such as mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease from people with normal memory performance after a single GP visit. This has potential to dramatically reduce diagnostic costs and waiting times, ensuring expert memory services are available to those who need them most and as quickly as possible.

Cambridge Cognition, the company behind CANTAB Mobile, today announced that of the 20,000 patients over the age of 50 who have been tested due to a concern about their memory, 3 in 4 did not have a significant memory problem. For these patients, the instant test results showed they had either a healthy memory for their age or a treatable mood disorder and did not require consultation with their local memory clinics.

The CANTAB Mobile test is a highly sensitive and specific touchscreen assessment of episodic memory, mood and the ability to perform normal daily activities presented on an iPad. The test takes 6-8 minutes and is designed to identify the earliest signs of clinically-relevant memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease, enabling healthy patients to be reassured without the need for further appointments or referral to memory clinics.

The test has been used as a best practice memory assessment in pharmaceutical development for over a decade. Now with the increased accessibility of tablet computers such as iPads and advances in mental health research, the technology has been made available and affordable for use in mainstream healthcare.

“CANTAB Mobile is becoming an invaluable front-line tool for healthcare professionals and enables them to create efficient and sustainable patient pathways in the face of increasing demand for dementia testing. By effectively reassuring and filtering out patients not currently at risk of dementia we can reduce the burden on our mental health services and provide better care for all patients” says Dr Andrew Blackwell, Chief Scientific Officer, Cambridge Cognition.

 

Notes to editors

CANTAB Mobile overview

  • Touchscreen iPad test using visual stimuli to measure earliest signs of clinically relevant memory impairment
  • Test takes 6-8 minutes to complete
  • Can be administered by anybody not just GPs as voiceover instructions guide patient in choice of over 20 languages
  • More sensitive and specific than previous memory tests
  • Validated by over 175 peer-reviewed journals and used in over 40 pharmaceutical clinical trials for dementia
  • Accurately identifies patients whose memory is below the expected standard for their age, gender and background and patients who have healthy memory
  • Filters out patients who are affected by a mood disorder such as depression rather than a dementia-related disease
  • Sensitive to detecting patients with mild cognitive impairment who are at greater risk of converting to a dementia in later life
  • Of 16,000 patients assessed across 40 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the NHS, 3 in 4 showed no signs of memory impairment and could be reassured that they did not need a memory clinic referral.

Dementia in numbers

  • Dementia costs society an estimated £26 billion a year, more than the costs of cancer, heart disease or stroke
  • Dementia is a growing, global challenge. As the population ages, it has become one of the most important health and care issues facing the world. The number of people living with dementia worldwide today is estimated at 44 million people, set to almost double by 2030
  • In England, it is estimated that around 676, 000 people have dementia. Dementia has, and will continue to have, a huge impact on people living with the condition, their carers, families and society
  • Studies show 3 out of 4 people would want to know if they were at risk of a neurological disorder
  • Whilst there is currently no cure for dementia, there are medications to treat the symptoms and lifestyle changes that may help slow the progression of the disease if identified early.

About Cambridge Cognition

Cambridge Cognition is a leading developer and provider of computerized cognitive tests combining neuroscience and technology to enhance mental health research and diagnosis throughout life.

The company’s cognitive assessment technology, CANTAB™, is used to conduct sensitive language independent touchscreen tests in pharmaceutical clinical trials, research institutes and healthcare services to advance understanding, diagnosis and treatment of cognitive impairments and neurological disorders.

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