A new computerized exam has been developed that can drastically speed up the amount of time that it takes for a neurologist to identify areas of concern in patients and deliver more accurate diagnoses, and care. The cognition tests can take about 20 minutes up to one hour depending on the number of areas that you wish to evaluate.
“What we’ve been up to is trying to digitize, quantify, and objectify aspects of the neurologic exam having to do with patients’ function. For too long we’ve been led by the legacy of Charcot with the physical examination to help us evaluate the impact that patients have from their disease. We use the question, “How are you?” And we use our own perceptions and examination techniques.”
The tests were purpose-designed to ensure that it doesn’t matter if the patient is computer savvy or not, s that the results are accurately displaying neurological concerns, and not just a general lack of computer skill. In fact, the user isn’t even required to move the mouse/cursor, the tests are administered with button clicks that are simple and easy to understand.
This technology allows neurologists to screen a vastly larger amount of patients and get the patients in need of therapy to a neuro-psuchologist for rehab and/or further investigation of the patient’s condition.
This test is already being used in both practice and clinical trials,
“We use it in practice and to collect clinical data. We use it in clinical trials as well. The beauty in practice is that we can now start to parse out when someone comes in, for example, with multiple sclerosis and they have a low EDSS (Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale). Their physical disability is low, and you would like to think that their ability to withstand the disease is okay. You see a bunch of plaques in their head, and you’re thinking that they have plenty of room to compensate. Their physical ability is good, but now we see that their cognitive profile is quite impaired, so that person will be disabled early unless we use more potent medications, at least in my opinion, to salvage brain function or prevent more disability.” – Mark Gudesblatt, MD
The biggest advantage of this technology belongs to the patients. Doctors are able to find out who is affected cognitively more early, more simply and able to get them to the right specialist for therapy before the issue, whatever it may be, progresses.