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Self-reporting dementia symptoms helps clinicians measure progression

January 12, 2015
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University Center for Aging Research have developed a patient self-reporting version of an assessment tool that can monitor symptoms in those living with dementia and track their levels of improvement or decline. 

A study of 291 patients, the results of which were published in Clinical Interventions in Aging, showed that this monitor is both reliable and valid.

Similar to a blood pressure cuff that measures systolic and diastolic pressures, the Healthy Aging Brain Center (HABC) Monitor measures 27 items on a four-point scale to assess cognitive, functional and psychological symptoms including the ability to memorize, the ability to learn to use a tool or appliance and the ability to conduct daily activities such as performing household chores. It also measures depression, anxiety and irritability levels.

"The patient self-reporting version of the HABC Monitor helps busy physicians accurately measure and monitor the severity of symptoms, providing valuable information that the patient's entire care team needs," said Malaz Boustani, MD, MPH, the study's senior author and associate director of the IU Center for Aging Research in a press release.

Patrick Monahan, PhD, associate professor of biostatistics at the IU School of Medicine, added, "We found that, like the caregiver version of the tool which we previously developed, the patient-reported information yields an accurate assessment of the patient’s cognitive, functional and psychological well-being."


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