The efficiency of the CANTAB test

The CANTAB mobile test is a 10 minute memory test that can tell the difference between forgetfulness and the more serious signs of dementia. This means that patients showing signs of dementia such as Alzheimer’s will be able to get treatment quicker, thus giving them a better quality of life for longer.

According to the Daily Mail, the test is now available for doctor’s surgeries at a charge of £250 annually to GP’s. The Cambridge University professor, Barbara Sahakian, who helped develop it, says that everyone over the age of 65 should be screened so that the symptoms can be found before the brain becomes too damaged to respond to treatment.

The test works by getting the patient to complete six tasks on a touch-screen computer. They are asked to memorise where an object is and then to recall its’ position a few seconds later. The test spots lapses in memory that may occur with the onset of dementia.

There are also questions designed to exclude depression from the diagnosis.

The test takes account of a patient’s sex, age and education. The results are available immediately and the patient’s score will help doctors decide if they should be referred to a specialist for further treatment. Apparently, according to research, the test is highly accurate.

There is no need for a doctor to be present while the test takes place. Practice nurses and other staff will be able to administer the test. At the moment, Walsall NHS is piloting the scheme and they hope to have the test in all the practices in their region in the very near future.