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5th November 2012

Will new technology slash dementia diagnosis times? Trial planned

New technology which aims to slash the time it take to diagnose dementia from the current 18 months to three months is set to be trialled in a UK Government-backed scheme.

According to reports the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is planning to announce a trial of the new digital diagnosis system at an event later this week.

The new digital diagnosis system is set to be piloted on 200 patients at two "brain health centres" in England early next year and combines computer-based tests of memory and thinking with computerised analysis of MRI brain scans.

How will digital dementia diagnosis work?

Under the process, GPs will carry out initial memory tests using iPad-compatible software that differentiates between patients with normal and abnormal memory in 10 minutes.

Those who need further investigation are then sent to a specialist brain health centre where brain scans and more detailed computer tests are carried out using a specially designed programme.

Scientists claim that if deployed nationally, the technology will raise diagnosis rates close to David Cameron's target of 80% - a doubling of the current average.

More than 400,000 people in the UK are suffering from dementia but are denied the care and support they need because their condition is undiagnosed, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce the launch of the pilot scheme at an event later this week, according to reports.

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