Detecting Declining Minds

October 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The fight against Alzheimer's is waged every day, in many families. Now there's a check up that gives your brain a workout.Researchers at Emory University and Georgia Tech developed this device called Detect.

Using a helmet equipped with a computer and eye-level screen, the patient is put through a fast-paced test to measure brain power. The test uses shapes, pictures and words to gauge reaction time and memory, functions that when impaired can signal early Alzheimer's.

David Wright, MD, Researcher, says "All of this is testing their ability to remember, their ability to reason very quickly."

The goal, earlier detection and treatment. "If we can detect them earlier, we can potentially get them on medication earlier," says Dr. Wright.

Findings from a pilot study of about 400 people found the 10 minute test was just as accurate as more complicated procedures that took about an hour or more.

Jennifer Su, had Detect test, says "I think we all need some sort of marker to help us find this problem early."

At 70, Jennifer knows her mind doesn't work as well as it used to. If she's at risk for Alzheimer's, she wants to know as soon as possible.

With a little help, she hopes to enjoy her golden years and keep her memories alive.

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