Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rite Aid memory test for Alzheimer's may be inaccurate, doctors say

Memory tests given at Rite Aid Corp. drug stores as an early warning for Alzheimer's are drawing criticism from doctors who say they don't work well and may cause unwarranted fear among people who don't have the disease.

The drugstore chain is making the tests available this month at more than 4,000 sites, partnering with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, an advocacy group. The 5- to 10-minute test of oral and written questions screens for early memory loss, including types tied to Alzheimer's. It asks patients to recall three unrelated words, draw the numbers of a clock into an empty circle, draw hands to a specific time on that clock, then asks the patient to recall the three words again.

The screenings raise may spur a consumer to see a doctor early, said foundation president Carol Steinberg. But some physicians argue the tests can be inaccurate and that people who do poorly may spend time and money worrying about a disease they don't have.
- Bloomberg News

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