Author Archive

  • News
  • November 5th, 2010

Medicare’s New Annual Wellness Visit Promotes Cognitive Screening

In what is both breaking and outstanding news for the future of Alzheimer’s disease, Medicare has announced that, beginning January 1, 2011, all beneficiaries must be screened for cognitive impairment as part of their annual wellness visit, another component that will now be mandatory for Medicare beneficiaries.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued final regulations for implementation of an important provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will include for the first time an annual wellness benefit for all Medicare beneficiaries beginning January 2011. This Medicare preventive service benefit is significant for the growing number of baby boomers who will soon be reaching the age of Medicare eligibility. It is also particularly important to the Alzheimer’s Association and the more than 5 million Americans it represents because an assessment for the detection of cognitive impairment will be a mandatory part of this annual wellness visit.

Medinteract has long been an advocate for the critical need for regular and early warning screening for Alzheimer’s and dementia. In July, 2010 Medicare began reimbursing physicians for using the Computerized Self Test for cognitive impairment screening in their offices, for those patients presenting with memory concerns. As part of the new regulation it appears that Medicare will not only reimburse for screening of each beneficiary annually, but will require this (or similar) test be performed by their physician.

The Computerized Self Test (CST), a groundbreaking online screen for Alzheimer’s disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), is one of the only tests available today which screens all six of the cognitive domains, something we now know to be critical for understanding ones level of cognition. With over 98% accuracy (clinical trials to date) the CST distinguishes between impaired and non-impaired persons. The CST also provides a level of cognitive detail the primary care physicians (PCP) have not had available from other tests. Using the CST’s computer-generated results, the PCP can now assess exactly which cognitive domain(s) show impairment, as well as severity of the impairment. Patients can be quickly and accurately categorized according to one of 5 groups: normal, MCI, mild, moderate or severe AD.

Armed with this level of detail the PCP can offer an individualized plan of care to each patient, based on their unique level of cognitive function, and upon retest, can accurately assess the efficacy of the existing treatment and adjust interventions, as necessary. This is a tremendous step forward in changing the face of Alzheimer’s disease, a move Medinteract hopes will radically reduce the estimated 60% of persons with Alzheimer’s who are currently going undiagnosed in the primary care setting, during a pivotal time when existing treatments are most effective.

For more information on the CST, please read our validation study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in April, 2010. For questions or information on integrating the CST into your medical practice please contact us.

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

As diagnostic criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) has become more widely embraced by the medical community, more and more patients are receiving a diagnosis and then asking the obvious question: what is it? This is generally followed by: does this mean I have (or will have) Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? Read More

Dementia Screening Cuts Health Costs

Today, Bloomberg Businessweek published a study documenting the decrease in the cost of care when dementia is diagnosed early. Cost savings is a great thing. But bigger than that is the increased quality of life and potential delay of disease progression for early and proper diagnosis. The earlier we diagnose a disease like Alzheimer’s, the more effective the treatments are at staving off the onset of additional symptoms or worsening of those existing. Read More

  • Blog
  • April 20th, 2010

Finding Peace of Mind Through Early Screening

A few days ago we received a very nice testimonial on our Facebook page and it made me realize that what we offer is truly two-fold.  Here is the message we received:

I took the self test today, and the results were excellent in all areas. With a family history of Alzheimer’s, having access to a quick, easy, affordable tool to catch problems early, gives me great peace of mind. Now I’ll chalk up my memory problems to overwork, rather than to early ALZ.

We offer the ALZselftest as a way to help people discover early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and get diagnosed early, when treatment options are most effective. But on the other side are the millions of baby boomers who have begun to worry that their memory lapses are something far more serious than mere absent-mindedness or paying insufficient attention. For these folks, like our commenter above, the ALZselftest offers a quick, highly accurate way to find “peace of mind”. The less time you spend fretting about the occasional lost set of keys, the more clear your mind will be, and the better you’ll feel each day.

Do not fear the outcome! Knowledge is power, and for the first time you are empowered with the tools to screen your mind and learn crucial information about your cognitive function. Besides, think how relieved you will be when you find out that you forget the same things the rest of us do, and are suffering no serious deficits within any of your cognitive domains! Don’t delay, screen your brain today.

  • News
  • April 13th, 2010

ABC World News: Driving With Alzheimer’s

Dr. Dougherty was featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer April 12, discussing his research on driving with Alzheimer’s, in the driving simulator from the University of Tennessee. You can read the full story on the ABC site here, or watch the video below. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have signs of early Alzheimer’s, you  may take the early warning screen, developed by Dr. Dougherty, here.

  • News
  • April 12th, 2010

Medinteract Founder on ABC World News Tonight

Dr. John Dougherty will be interviewed tonight on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, to discuss his Alzheimer’s research, using the driving simulator at The University of Tennessee and Cole Neuroscience Center. You can read the original story, aired on Knoxville ABC-affiliate WATE here.

Free Memory Testing During Alzheimer’s Awareness Garden

This week Medinteract is offering the ALZselftest free to the public as part of the 4th Annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Garden. This is part of our ongoing effort to educate the public and screen seniors for early signs of Alzheimer’s, while there’s still plenty of time to treat it.  Please join us if you are in the Knoxville area. The Memory Walk takes place Saturday, April 17th.

The Brain and Spine Institute in collaboration with the Cole Neuroscience Center will again host the 4th Annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Garden April 12-16. The Alzheimer’s Awareness Garden honors families and caregivers impacted by Alzheimer’s. This year, the garden will be located outdoors in the Healing Garden.

April 5 to 9, the week prior to opening the garden, special activities are planned in the main lobby from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. daily including the following.

  • Computerized memory testing
  • Tips for coping with caregiver stress
  • “Food for Thought”
  • Diabetes, stroke and the Alzheimer’s connection
  • Brain games and teasers
  • News
  • April 6th, 2010

Driving Simulator To Help Alzheimer’s Patients

ALZselftest creator, Dr. John Dougherty, is leveraging the new driving simulator at the University of Tennessee to conduct some very important research on driving and Alzheimer’s disease.  You can read the full story from WATE here.  Please note the Lenoir City Forget Me Not 5k benefits Dr. Dougherty’s research. If you are in the Knoxville area, please plan to join us!

“Some people with severe memory problems have a difficult time remembering how to get home. They get lost in the car,” Dr. Dougherty says. “But also other things happen in Alzheimer’s disease. That is, one’s attention can be affected. You might see a dog or a child run across the street and may not be able to react as quickly.”

Dr. Dougherty hopes to start testing his patients in the simulator within the next couple of months.

Lenoir City is hosting the Forget Me Not 5K for Alzheimer’s on Saturday April 17. All proceeds will go toward Dr. Dougherty’s research at UT.

The Alzheimer’s Association is holding a Memory Walk in Knoxville the same day.

  • News
  • March 29th, 2010

Latest News Links for Computerized Self Test

Here is the latest list of sites featuring articles on the Computerized Self Test, or, the ALZselftest.com:

On PubMed.gov

From Science Daily

New Article on Computerized Self Test from Medscape

From The Behavioral Medicine Report

From WATE.com

  • News
  • March 19th, 2010

New Online Test May Help Detect Alzheimer’s Sooner

From WATE News in Knoxville, TN.  Get the whole story here.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A new online test developed in Knoxville may help with earlier diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease.

An estimated 5 million people have Alzheimer’s disease and the latest studies show up to 60 percent go undiagnosed until it’s too late to do much about it.

It’s a progressive and fatal disease of the brain that destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior.

The simple, interactive test is posted on the Web sitealzselftest.com. It only takes 10 minutes and costs just under $20.

Your answers reveal important information about your mental functions.

The test is a sort of fitness test for the brain. It starts with questions like what year is it? What month? What week?

Then the questions progress to dig deeper into what’s going on in your brain.

At UT Medical Center’s Cole Neuroscience Center, researcher Rex Cannon, with UT Knoxville, and Dr. John Dougherty with the, UT Graduate School of Medicine, developed the test to get more people diagnosed in time to make a difference in their quality of life.

“It’s so important, if not critical, for people to come early for evaluation. That’s why we’ve been so interested in developing this test that people can access online. Or if they’re not computer literate a loved one, family member, can help them with the computer interface,” Dr. Dougherty says.

“Nobody is really afraid of the test and I think that’s important they don’t feel alienated, kind of comfortable taking it. It speaks to the patient with verbal instructions so that’s important,” Cannon says.

After you take the test, if you show early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, you can take the results to your doctor.