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2012 Grants - Dowling
Evaluating the Structural Equivalence of Dementia Screening Tests
Maritza Dowling, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2012 New Investigator Research Grant to Promote Diversity
A major goal in Alzheimer's disease research is to develop ways to detect the disease in people at a very early stage. Currently, a variety of memory or brain function tests are used to detect early signs of dementia and determine which people should receive more extensive evaluation to determine if their brain function is below normal for their age.
One such test that is commonly used in medical clinics is the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE). Like any test, it has drawbacks and limitations. A newer test, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), has been proposed to be a better alternative than the MMSE test.
Maritza Dowling, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed to study the ability of the MoCA test to detect people who have reduced brain function and distinguish them from healthy people. They will compare the MoCA test with the MMSE, including the ability of different components of the two tests to measure different types of brain function. The researchers will use existing test results of people who were given both types of tests. They will then use statistical methods to compare the accuracy and sensitivity of the two tests. These studies will improve our understanding of the MMSE and MoCA tests, and they may lead to the development and use of more accurate tests for detecting early signs of dementia.