Early Detection of Alzheimer's Disease Enables Caregivers to Significantly
Delay Admission of Their Loved Ones to Nursing Homes
*New study published in The Gerontologist finds caregivers can support
patients with early signs of dementia significantly longer at home,
instead of placing patients in assisted living facilities, when provided
with counselling support services.
*Delaying or preventing patients from entering assisted living can save up
to $41,000 per patient per year.
*Primary care physicians need better tools to diagnose early signs of
cognitive decline to allow caregivers to access services and reap
financial benefits for healthcare system.
*Cogstate has developed COGNIGRAM^TM to assist physicians in the detection
and monitoring of cognitive impairment associated with dementia.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- April 9, 2014
Providing counselling services to the caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s
disease can delay or prevent patients from entering a long-term care facility,
such as a nursing home, and reduce private and public health costs, according
to a new journal report.
A research team based in the School of Nursing & Center for Aging at the
University of Minnesota found that adult children could significantly delay
the institutionalization of their parents with Alzheimer’s disease or a
related-dementia if they were supported with emotional and social services.
Importantly, this benefit was achieved without incurring distress or negative
mental health effects for the caregiver.
Delaying or preventing admission to a long-term residential care program can
save up $41,000 per year per patient, according to U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services data. Alzheimer’s disease and similar dementia patients
utilise residential care facilities at more than eight times the rate of
patients without cognitive impairment.
Dr. Paul Maruff, Chief Scientific Officer of Cogstate, said identifying
cognitive decline at an early stage would empower caregivers to access
counselling and support services at the earliest possible stage and help them
plan for the future.
“Preventing or delaying the number of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s
disease and other dementias from entering an assisted living facility will
save money for the patient, their caregiver and ultimately the government,” Dr
For caregivers to initiate access to support services, primary care physicians
require the tools to accurately and sensitively quantify cognitive decline in
its earliest stages. The patient should meet a certain benchmark for cognitive
decline that is highly specific and sensitive to Alzheimer’s disease and
COGNIGRAM^TM is a web-based system that provides a brief, standardized, valid
assessment of cognitive function to assist physicians in the detection and
monitoring of subtle cognitive change over time. COGNIGRAM^TM has been
validated to assess subtle cognitive impairment and monitor cognitive change
associated with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
COGNIGRAM^TM utilizes the Cogstate Brief Battery, a computerized cognitive
assessment scientifically developed to assess change using simple visual
stimuli in four critical cognitive domains: psychomotor function, attention,
learning and memory, as well as working memory. The Cogstate Brief Battery is
supported by more than a decade of peer-reviewed research.
“Detecting Alzheimer’s disease at its earliest stages has become the focus of
scientific research as the best way to help treat the disease and give
caregivers and family members the time to plan for the future,” Dr. Maruff
said. “When cognitive impairment is identified, COGNIGRAM^TM enables support
services to be initiated.”
Dr. Maruff said the assessment also classifies cognitive impairment that may
not yet warrant support services, but require tracking under a follow-up
“For example, a patient may show abnormal cognition that is not yet sufficient
to qualify for support services, but that same patient can be retested in six
months to ensure that support services are provided at the right time,” he
said. “This also allows the physician to monitor the rate of change of
cognitive function over time.”
Cogstate’s technology has been used globally by pharmaceutical companies to
quantify the effect of drugs or other interventions in people participating in
clinical trials. COGNIGRAM^TM was launched in Canada in 2012.
About the Study
The purpose of the study was to determine whether the NYU Caregiver
Intervention, adapted in Minnesota for adult child caregivers, prevented or
delayed residential care placement for persons with dementia. The clinical
trial design included 107 adult caregivers of persons with dementia who were
randomly assigned to the treatment group or control group. Participants were
asked to complete structured assessments for a minimum of 2 years.
Study results showed that two thirds (66%) of adult caregivers in the control
condition admitted their parent to a residential care setting compared with
37% in the treatment condition. Statistical analysis showed that the treatment
group was significantly less likely (p < .05) to admit their parents to a
residential care setting and delayed their parents’ time to admission
significantly longer (228.36 days longer on average) than those in the control
The implication of this study is that psychosocial support for caregivers
allows them to continue providing care to cognitively impaired parents at
Study Citation: The Gerontologist Vol. 53, No. 6, 985–997
Cogstate Ltd (ASX:CGS) is a multi-faceted cognitive assessment and training
company, focused on the development and commercialisation of rapid,
computerised tests of cognition (brain function). It has three distinct
Clinical Trials: In the clinical drug trial market, Cogstate technology and
associated services are used by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to
quantify the effect of drugs or other interventions on human subjects
participating in clinical trials.
Concussion: In the area of sports related concussion, Cogstate’s technology
has been used by a number of highly regarded institutions and sporting
organisations around the world for almost 10 years.
Healthcare: In the primary care or general practice setting, COGNIGRAM™
assesses cognition in patients and the reports generated on the basis of this
assessment can allow physicians to identify subtle changes that could be
indicative of the early stage of a neurodegenerative disease, such as
For further information contact:
Dan Peterson, +1-203-773-5010
Ben Oliver, +61 3 9866 4722
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