Aug 13, 2015

3 Minutes Test for Alzheimer's, Dementia and Memory Loss

Alzheimer's Reading Room

The Quick Dementia Rating System is a 10-item questionnaire that can be completed by a caregiver, friend or family member.

Most patients never receive an evaluation by a neurologist, geriatric psychiatrist, or geriatrician skilled in dementia diagnoses and staging.
The QDRS has the potential to provide a clearer, more accurate staging for those patients who are unable to see these more specialized clinicians and get them the treatment, referrals and community services they so desperately need.” ~ James E. Galvin.

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Test Takes 3-5 Minutes to Complete and Can be Used by a Layperson

The “Quick Dementia Rating System” (QDRS), which uses an evidence-based methodology, validly and reliably differentiates individuals with and without dementia.

When dementia is present, it accurately stages the condition to determine if it is very mild, mild, moderate or severe. QDRS has applications for use in clinical practice, to pre-qualify patients in clinical trials, prevention studies, community surveys and biomarker research.

The questionnaire covers:
  1. memory and recall; 
  2. orientation; 
  3. decision-making and problem-solving abilities; 
  4. activities outside the home;
  5.  function at home and hobbies; 
  6.  toileting and personal hygiene; 
  7. behavior and personality changes; 
  8. language and communication abilities; 
  9. mood; 
  10. and attention and concentration.
  • Determining whether or not an individual has dementia and to what degree is a long and laborious process that can take an experienced professional such as a clinician about four to five hours to administer, interpret and score the test results.
James E. Galvin a neuroscientist at Florida Atlantic University has developed a way for a layperson to do this in three to five minutes with results that are comparable to the “gold standard” dementia tests used by clinicians today.
“After extensive testing and evaluation of the Quick Dementia Rating System, we have found it to be as effective as the gold standard used today to screen for the five stages of dementia,” said Galvin.
  • “This new tool gives you a lot of power to see the same results as a full screening in a fraction of the time it takes for a complete screening.”
  • The total score is derived by summing up the 10 fields and each area has five possible answers increasing in severity of symptoms. The 10 areas capture the prominent symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and non-Alzheimer’s neurocognitive disorders including Lewy Body Dementia, frontotemporal degeneration, vascular dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and depression.
  • A total of 267 individuals with various forms of dementia from Alzheimer’s disease to Lewy Body Dementia participated in the study, which included 32 healthy controls. Study participants also included their spouses/significant others, adult children, relatives, friends and paid caregivers who completed the QDRS.

The Quick Dementia Rating System is copyrighted and permission to use this tool is required. QDRS is available at no cost to clinicians, researchers and not-for-profit organizations.

James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., is one of the most prominent neuroscientists in the country and a professor of clinical biomedical science in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and a professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, and the QDRS is his brainchild.

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961 serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout southeast Florida. For more information, visit


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