July 03, 2018
1 min read

Picture-based tool detects cognitive impairment

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Rubina Malik
Rubina Malik

The Picture-Based Memory Impairment Screen — a four-photo screening tool used to assess memory and mental acuity in clinical settings — detected cognitive impairment, according to findings recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“Patients and caregivers often are not aware of their cognitive impairment because primary care doctors are not knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms and are not screening for cognitive impairment in their patients,” Rubina Malik, MD, MS, division of geriatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told Healio Family Medicine.

The Picture-Based Memory Impairment Screen requires patients to recall a series of images independently or with the help of a verbal cue after a time delay when they are performing other tasks.

Malik and colleagues administered this test to 405 patients with cognitive complaints (average age = 76 years) and found mean Picture-Based Memory Impairment Screen scores were 4 in participants with dementia (n = 194), 6.8 in those with mild cognitive impairment (n = 155), and 7 in those with subjective cognitive complaints (n = 56) (P < .001). The scores showed similar significant linear trends when analyzed based on education, ethnicity, sex and language. The test had positive predictive value of 77%, negative predictive value of 73%, sensitivity of 68%, and specificity of 81% to detect all-cause dementia.

“The Picture-Based Memory Impairment Screen takes about 4 minutes to administer and can be used by primary care physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals to detect early signs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia,” Malik said in the interview.

Malik compared the tool to others that have the same objective

“The [Picture-Based Memory Impairment Screen] is a shorter, faster and easier screening tool then traditional cognitive screening tools such as the Mini Mental State Examination, which requires at least an eighth-grade educational level, can take 15 to 20 minutes to complete and is complex,” she said.

“Conversely, the [Picture-Based Memory Impairment Screen] can be performed across all educational groups, is culture fair (regardless of ethnic background or native language) can be used in a variety of settings (office, clinics, hospital, or nursing homes) and helps to overcome inaccurate results caused by cultural biases and poor education levels.” – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.