Jan 18, 2010

Dr OZ Memory Test for Alzheimer's Has a Flaw in the Scoring System

Since I am very interested in Alzheimer’s disease, I took the memory test on Dr. Oz’s website. I believe there is a flaw in the test...

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dr Oz

I think it is a great thing that Dr. Oz has posted a link to a screening test for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia on his website.

It is very important to identify memory problems early, since many medications and treatments can slow down the progress of these diseases. Once these diseases strike it is impossible to reverse and gain back abilities that are lost. This is one good reason why early diagnosis of Alzheimer's and dementia are important.

Since I am very interested in Alzheimer’s disease, I took the memory test on Dr. Oz’s website. I believe there is a flaw in the test and the way the test is scored.

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At one point the test asks you to remember, then name a certain number of things in one minute. I named 23.

The next question asks whether you named between 4 and 9 of those objects. The logical answer is “no,” because 23 is not between 4 and 9. The next questions asked if I named between 10 and 13 of these objects. Again, the logical answer would be “no.” The third question in this series asks if I named 14 or more objects, and the correct answer would be “yes.” However, when the test self-corrects, it expects the answers to all three questions to be “yes.”

The reason I point this out is that I am concerned that people taking this test might become unnecessarily alarmed by the score they receive on the test. The score is likely to be lower or inaccurate because of this flaw.

I wrote to the Dr. Oz show about this problem, but I have not yet received a response.

Again, I thank Dr. Oz for his attention to Alzheimer’s disease and the positive impact his show is having by bringing attention to this growing epidemic.

Go here to take the Alzheimer's Memory Quiz on the Dr Oz website.

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Original content Max Wallach, the Alzheimer's Reading Room