New 10 minute test to determine whether a patient has Alzheimer's disease is the CANTAB Paired Associates Learning Test or PAL. This test is opening new doors of possibilities for the treatment of Alzheimer's by pinpointing with 98% accuracy whether a person has Alzheimer's disease.
An early concrete diagnosis of this dreaded disease may open the door for new drugs that can be tested on live subjects. The test is said to be able to make a distinction between those patients who are suffering from Alzheimer's and those individuals who have no neuropsychiatric disorder.
The accuracy of this test is said to be higher than any of the other Alzheimer's test like the FAST, or MME results. The CANTAB PAL test is reported at a 98% accuracy rate compared to the other test whose accuracy is 90%. Professor Robbins and Dr. Barbara Sahakian are the developers of the test.
"This test is more specific to Alzheimer's patients", states Dr. Sahakia, "The CANTAB PAL can test those areas of the brain that are first affected by Alzheimer's disease".
Since there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, the only alternative is for the patient to receive an early diagnosis in hopes that the disease can be treated.
It is estimated that 2-5% of people over 65 years of age and up to 20% of those over 85 years of age suffer from Alzheimer's disease.
Early detection and diagnosis are critical factors for the effective treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. This new test may someday provide the link from early detection to total cure. If there is a 98% accuracy rate, then pharmacological evaluations of victims of the disease will be more reliable.
Early detection of Alzheimer's can also speed up the research on preventive therapies. Whether those therapies are drug therapies, diet, or other techniques, Scientist will now have living subjects who can undergo stringent test to determine the true effects of these therapies.
The results of the study suggests that impaired performance on one neuropsychological test, CANTAB Paired Associates Learning (PAL), might serve as a marker for pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease. PAL is a stringent test for episodic memory.