Dementia: Doctor outlines changes to help prevent disease
The Integrated Cognitive Assessment (ICA) test analyses responses to an array of audiovisual cues to screen for early signs of dementia. Developed by the UK health firm Cognetivity Neurosciences, the test has been approved this week for the US markets by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to Cognetivity, the test boasts a "high sensitivity" to early-stage cognitive impairment, which includes trouble with memory, concentration and learning.
These are the most common early symptoms of dementia, according to the NHS, and are often accompanied by mood swings, confusion and trouble performing everyday tasks.
Dr Sina Habibi, Cognetivity's CEO, said: "We're delighted to have reached this major company milestone, which is the culmination of many years of hard work.
"This grants us access to the world's largest healthcare market, where, sadly, there is much more to be done to tackle the massive problem of dementia.
"Of course, we're excited about the opportunity to revolutionize the way cognitive impairment is assessed and managed in the US and make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans."
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A five-minute dementia test has been approved for use in the US
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The ICA has already been approved in Europe and has been rolled out across the UK as a CE-marked medical device.
The test is being used in both primary and specialist clinical care by the NHS.
It is estimated more than 850,000 people in the UK have dementia.
One in 14 people over the age of 65 are affected by the disease and by 2025, the number of people with dementia is expected to hit one million.
And though there is no known cure for dementia, early diagnosis can, in some cases, slow the disease from progressing.
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The NHS said: "A diagnosis helps people with dementia get the right treatment and support.
"It can also help them, and the people close to them, to prepare for the future."
In the US, more than £2.75trillion ($3.8trillion) was spent on healthcare services in 2018 and the figures are expected to nearly double by 2028.
Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia account for a significant chunk of the figure, costing the US some £257billion ($335billion) so far this year.
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There is no known cure to dementia
The dementia test can be done on an iPad or smartphone
The figures are expected to grow to £800billion ($1.1trillion) by 2050, and there is a growing demand for early diagnosis.
Dr Habibi: "The benefits of reaching this milestone will extend far beyond the US itself.
"The FDA is the global exemplar in medical regulation; its name carries great weight all over the world.
"Without a doubt, this mark of certification will bolster our regulatory and commercial efforts in other international jurisdictions as we continue to pursue our ambitions for deployment on a truly global scale."
Scientists have warned the number of dementia cases worldwide is forecast to spike by 2050.
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Dr Maria C. Carrillo, Alzheimer's Association chief science officer, said: "Improvements in lifestyle in adults in developed countries and other places - including increasing access to education and greater attention to heart health issues - have reduced incidence in recent years, but total numbers with dementia are still going up because of the ageing of the population.
"In addition, obesity, diabetes and sedentary lifestyles in younger people are rising quickly, and these are risk factors for dementia."