Drawing a clock by hand is one of several useful screening tools that can help to detect dementia, or Alzheimer's.
This test can help you, or your doctor, differentiate between normal aging and possible dementia.
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If you administer the test on your own and find the results either disconcerting or suspicious, schedule an appointment with your personal care physician. Take the copy of the clock test with you to the doctor appointment, and show the test to the doctor.
When you get to the doctor insist on a referral to a memory specialist for testing.
There are many diseases that can present as dementia or Alzheimer's. Getting the correct diagnosis is difficult under any and all circumstances. You need to be sure all the proper tests are administered before a real diagnosis of Alzheimer's or a related dementia can be made.
The Clock Drawing Test
Have the person draw a clock by hand on a large piece of paper.
Have the person draw the face of a clock and put the numbers in the correct positions.
Then have them draw the hands to indicate the time like 3:40 - one hand of the clock on 3 and the other on the 8.
Clock Drawing Test Scoring
To score, assign the following points for each part of the drawing:
- 1 point for a closed circle
- 1 point for properly placed numbers
- 1 point for including all twelve numbers
- 1 point for properly placed hands
The clock-drawing test meets defined criteria for a cognitive screening instrument. It taps into a wide range of cognitive abilities including executive functions, is quick and easy to administer and score with excellent acceptability by subjects.
Together with informant reports, the clock-drawing test is complementary to the widely used and validated Mini-Mental State Examination and should provide a significant advance in the early detection of dementia and in monitoring cognitive change.
A simple scoring system with emphasis on the qualitative aspects of clock-drawing should maximize its utility.
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Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room