Quick Test Could Spot Alzheimer’s, Dementia Earlier

Michael Rosenbloom, M.D., and his colleagues at the HealthPartners Center for Memory and Aging are promoting a tool to help primary care physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. A quick pen-and-paper test, if used during routine annual physicals, can detect cognitive problems in thousands of older patients who may have undetected Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological disorders.

HealthPartners Care Group, one of Minnesota’s largest medical practices, has been screening Medicare patients ages 70 and older at four of its clinics for more than 18 months. The test, called the Mini-Cog, takes a minute or two and is far more sensitive to mild cognitive impairment than a more-widely-used test developed 45 years ago that takes twice as long.