Heading   5 min test to diagnose alzheimers   copy


A team of researchers at Emory University developed a rapid screening test to detect mild cognitive impairment - often the earliest stage of AD. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, the new screening instrument allowed the researchers to correctly classify the participants at 83% accuracy as cognitively: normal, demented or mildly impaired.

Here's how to  complete the 5 minute Test at Home (Note: This requires the person being tested to be present with you)

Test 1: Name Three Words

State three unrelated words (e.g. lamp, Bob, fridge) and ask the person being tested to repeat these objects back to you. If the person is unable to list these three words after several attempts, please speak with a physician immediately. If the person can list these three words within one or a few attempts, move to step 2.

Test 2: Draw a Clock

Ask the person being tested to draw a clock. A normal clock would have a circle and numbers distributed fairly evenly around the circumference. If the drawing looks abnormal, this may be a sign of mild cognitive impairment.

Test 3: Repeat the Three Words

Ask the person to repeat the words from test 1. If the person can remember all three words, they are probably not suffering from dementia according to the study. However, if they are unable to remember any of these words, this could be a sign of mild cognitive impairment.

Test 4: Functional Activities Test

For this section, use the following scoring system to rate the person's ability:

  • Dependent = 3
  • Requires Assistance = 2
  • Has Difficulty but does by Self = 1
  • Normal = 0
  • Never did [the activity] but could do = 0
  • Never did [the activity] but suspect would have difficulty = 1
  1. Writing checks, paying bills, balancing checkbook
  2. Assembling tax records, business affairs, or papers
  3. Shopping alone for clothes, household necessities, or groceries
  4. Playing a game of skill, working on a hobby
  5. Heating water, making a cup of coffee, turning off stove after use
  6. Preparing a balanced meal
  7. Keeping track of current events
  8. Paying attention to, understanding, discussing TV, book, magazine
  9. Remembering appointments, family occasions, holidays,medications
  10. Traveling out of neighborhood, driving, arranging to take buses

Add up the total score. If scored 9 or higher, this is a possible indication of impaired function or cognitive impairment.

What does this mean?

If you've gone through this test with a loved one and received suspicious results, don't panic.

This test is "extremely inexpensive, easy to administer and score, and requires no special training" points out James Lah, MD, associate professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine and lead investigator of the study, so it is a good starting point for a loved one that you suspect may be suffering from AD or another form of dementia.

If after taking this test you are concerned, consult a physician who can conduct more formal and vigorous testing to determine if your loved one has AD, another form of dementia, or even suffering from a curable disease that presents the same symptoms as Alzheimer's and dementia (e.g. depression, hypothyroidism).

"Since current medications can only delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease but are not able to reverse its devastating effects, a test like this is key to help individuals detect this devastating disease earlier and maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible," says James Lah, MD, associate professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine and lead investigator of the study.

And if you are moved to help find a cure or treatment in the fight against Alzheimer’s, donate now to Give to Cure. 100% of your public donation will go directly towards funding some of the world’s most promising clinical trials in the pursuit of finding a cure or treatment together.