The Slovenia Times

Slovenian company develops dementia screening test

Health & MedicineScience & Technology

The Slovenian neuroscience company BrainTrip has presented a new dementia screening test that will help doctors detect the disease early. An early diagnosis can increase treatment options, experts say.

Dementia is a neurological disease that affects 10% of the population over the age of 65. Experts warn that it often goes undiagnosed or is diagnosed very late, which decreases treatment chances. There is no cure for dementia yet, but there are treatments available if the disease is found early.

According to unofficial data, there are about 35,000 people with dementia in Slovenia, most of them older people. It is estimated that one in six people over 80 has dementia. However, experts warn that the actual numbers are even higher because many have not been diagnosed yet.

As part of a project called Pomni (Remember), BrainTrip screened around 250 individuals in Slovenia. They evaluated their mental ability with five psychological screening tests and their brain function with the help of the BrainTrip Dementia Index or BDI test, which takes the person's brainwave data.

Speaking at a presentation in Ljubljana on 18 January, BrainTrip co-founder Jurij Dreo explained that each of the tests has different specificity and sensitivity scores, while the key to a good test is the ratio between the specificity and sensitivity scores.

Comparing those tests, they found that the BDI test performed best in terms of the ratio between the two scores. Dreo said that the BDI test was measured to be 94% accurate.

"The BDI test is a result of Slovenian research that can help family doctors and neurologists discover or diagnose dementia," he said. He believes the test could eliminate unnecessary doctor's visits and bring patients with actual problems to medical professionals.

Dementia is more of a societal than a health problem, since the disease remains highly stigmatised, said Štefanija Lukič Zlobec, the president of Spominčica, Slovenia's Alzheimer's association. She finds it important to educate and raise awareness about the condition.

Experts believe that new drugs, like Aducanumab and Lecanemab that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, are a step in the right direction.


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