Researchers Create Home-based Self-Assessment Tool for Dementia Screening

By Wednesday, October 3, 2012 0 , Permalink 0

The tool is based on paper and pencil clock drawing tests which is one of the most commonly used screening tests for cognitive impairment. Dubbed ClockMe, the tool helps adults identify early signs of impairment using two main components – ClockReader Application and ClockAnalyzer Application. Project leader Ellen Yi-Luen Do said, “Our ClockMe System helps older adults identify early signs of impairment, while allowing clinicians to quickly analyze the test results and gain valuable insight into the patient’s thought processes.”

Through ClockReader, which uses a stylus and computer or tablet, participant willing to take the test is given a specific time and asked to draw a clock with numbers and correct minute and hour hands. Once the recipient is done with the sketch, the output is emailed to and scored by a clinician using the ClockAnalyzer Application that checks for 13 traits to identify signs of cognitive impairment.

Some of the common signs of dementia are missing or extra numbers; digits being drawn outside the clock and incorrect time. The analyzer application not only scores the test, it also records the duration of the test and replays the drawing in real-time, just like a technician would oversee a participant, thus enabling the clinician to watch the sketch as drawn to identify behavior abnormality.

Do said, “By looking at the sketch, the scorer is not able to decipher whether the person struggled to remember certain numbers while drawing the clock. The ClockMe system’s timing software highlights those delays.”

The drawing being electronic allows for comparison of a person’s cognitive ability progress or regression over time. The research not only allows users to check for signs of cognitive impairment themselves it allows to do them without having to visit clinics thus saving them time as well as money.