Although researchers have been spending countless hours searching for an effective way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease early, results of a new study may have found that family members could be best at identifying the mental illness in their loved ones.
Seniorjournal.com reports that researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, developed a questionnaire, called Ascertain Dementia 8 (AD8), which someone close to the patient takes in order to determine their cognitive lucidity.
According to the news source, the study was published in the online journal Brain and found that the questionnaire works better than just relying on bio-markers alone.
The results are particularly encouraging because it offers a more cost-effective way to screen at-risk individuals for the mental illness.
"The AD8 gives us a brief and very low-cost alternative that takes a few minutes of the informant's time to screen for dementia and thus identify those individuals who need follow-up evaluations to determine if there truly are signs of Alzheimer's," Dr John C Morris told the news source.
The Texas State Department of Health Services reports that 5.3 million American currently suffer from the disease, and that figure may reach 11 million by 2050 if there is no cure or prevention found.