November 14, 2011

Memory Screening Matters  

Aviv Centers for Living is encouraging members of the community to be proactive about memory health by taking advantage of free, confidential memory screenings at 330 Paradise Road in Swampscott on Tuesday, November 15 from 10 3 p.m. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has created a fact sheet to address some of the common misconceptions about memory screening and National Memory Screening Day. AFA believes that all individuals should be empowered to make informed decisions to better manage their own health, not discouraged from screening based on misinformation.
Memory screenings are a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. Memory problems could be caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other medical conditions.
The memory screening tests made available to participating sites for use during National Memory Screening Day are validated for effectiveness.
It is important to keep in mind that no medical test, whether for screening or diagnosis, is 100 percent accurate and any test can produce “false positive” or “false negative” results. However,the memory screening tests that AFA makes available for use during National Memory Screening Day (GPCOG, MIS and Mini-Cog) demonstrates 80 percent to 90 percent or higher sensitivity (probability of true positives) and specificity (probability of true negatives) in reviewed studies—similar to other established screening tests such as a mammography and Pap smear.
Qualified healthcare professionals administer the memory screening tests on National Memory Screening Day. AFA explicitly recommends that qualified healthcare professionals—including social workers, pharmacists, physician assistants, psychologists, nurse practitioners and doctors—provide the screenings.
Screening results do not represent a diagnosis. The screening is neither a diagnostic or case finding process. Screening tests in general simply help determine whether diagnostic tests should be considered. A “positive” result from a memory screening should never be interpreted as a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related illness or any other illnesses—no more than a “positive” mammogram means an individual has breast cancer.
If you would like more information, call Janice Glick, Director of Social Work Services at 781-598-5310 x. 1561