Did you know that your doctor's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease could be wrong? That's because the test doctors use to determine whether you have the disease or not has some problems. Fortunately, researchers are doing something about it. And, in the process, they discovered something surprising about how to treat the memory-stealing disease.
The test doctors use to determine if cognitive impairment is indeed Alzheimer's is called the "Mini-Mental State Examination" (MMSE) test. This test involves monitoring answers to 30 questions that fit into five different categories (registration, attention and calculation, recall, language, and orientation). Then they use an algorithm to score the patients. However, this test isn't perfect. In fact, it's come under some intense criticism because factors such as educational background can affect the scores. With a true disease, your educational background wouldn't have any bearing on the results. Diseases are equal-opportunity destroyers.
So researchers from the Hunter Medical Research Institute and University of Newcastle (Australia) looked at a multivariate approach to improve on the MMSE test.
The study looked at an analysis of 3,717 patients from the Coalition Against Major Diseases dataset. The researchers identified five groups of patients. They all were either cognizant, inattentive, forgetful, distant, or absent. And the researchers made sure that each group had its own set of distinctive characteristics and prognostics. So it was clear which patients belonged in each group. Then they looked at the MMSE questionnaire to see which questions the test used to determine how accurate it could quantify the groupings. They found that only three of the five categories were critical for grouping. These were registration, attention, and recall.
This information is helping the researchers build a test model that's far more accurate than the current MMSE questionnaire. This new questionnaire will not only help determine whether someone has Alzheimer's or not, it will also help determine more accurately how far they have progressed in the disease.
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It's important to know the depth of progression because the earlier you catch Alzheimer's, the better you can treat it. In fact, the researchers noted — as a complete afterthought — that there was one supplement that helped slow the progression of Alzheimer's if it's used at the right time. It was such an afterthought, that they didn't mention it until the very end of the report.
This comment was stunning for a couple of reasons. First, it came out of nowhere. This wasn't a study focused on determining the effectiveness of multivitamins. They were simply looking at ways to slow the progression of Alzheimer's from one group to the next. Second, it's stunning because the only thing they reported having an impact on this progression was multivitamins. I'm assuming they didn't test a lot of supplements or they would have found more. But the fact that they found this is great news. It shows that if you want to prevent Alzheimer's, taking a multivitamin, such as Healthy Resolve
, is a great way to fight memory loss.
While the researchers found only a "hint" of effectiveness, it's important to remember that they weren't searching hard for treatment options. They were simply analyzing the transitions from one group to another. And multivitamins stood out. Obviously their research doesn't say that multivitamins stop Alzheimer's. But the fact that they mentioned the supplement at all — even as an afterthought — is significant enough to encourage all of us to make sure we're taking a multivitamin every day.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND
Inna Tishchenko, Carlos Riveros, Pablo Moscato. Alzheimer’s disease patient groups derived from a multivariate analysis of cognitive test outcomes in the Coalition Against Major Diseases dataset. Future Science OA, 2016; FSO140 DOI: 10.4155/fsoa-2016-0041.