Sweet Sixteen Aint What it Used to Be!

Lives change, and so do needs.

A new 16 item cognitive assessment test, known as the”Sweet Sixteen”, remarkably demonstrated 99% sensitivity for diagnosing cognitive impairment in a 700-patient cohort with known cognitive status. It’s high correlation with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) – and in some instances, better performance, will motivate professionals to make this test available on the Internet.

“We have successfully developed and validated a cognitive assessment instrument that is efficient and simple; requires no pen, paper, or other props to administer; and will be available open access,” Tamara G. Fong, MD, PhD, of Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and co-authors wrote in an article published online in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Cognitive impairment often goes unrecognized in older patients. The Sweet Sixteen may assist in more frequent measurement of cognitive function which could facilitate early detection and diagnosis of dementia.

Sure, the  Sweet 16 (like the MMSE) has limitations… as related to individuals with limited cognitive impairment or high levels of education, and limited value for tracking subtle changes in cognitive function over time… bit it does present a confident, affordable tool accessible to all.

10. November 2010 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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