iPad version of ACE dementia test automatically calculates scores

Australian and UK researchers have released a free iPad version of Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE), a popular screening test for dementia and other cognitive disorders, which will allow clinicians to automatically calculate patients’ scores and create a report for their medical records.

Developed by Neuroscience Research Australia’s (NeuRA) Professor John Hodges and colleagues at Plymouth University in the UK, the ACEmobile app contains the latest version of the ACE test, ACE-III, and will mean users no longer have to refer to the paper administration manual or calculate scores in their head.

The ACE-III test is considered more comprehensive than other tools like the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE). In a 100-point score, people with scores below 88 may have early dementia and scores below 82 increases the certainty.

The test is normally administered with paper and pencil and requires clinicians to calculate the score. It also requires clinicians to use an administration manual to ensure the correct wording is used.

The ACEmobile iPad version will do both of these functions automatically, and will also create a report that can be printed out or emailed. It is also aimed at allowing nurses and non-medical staff to administer the test.

Professor Hodges, who designed the original test, said he and his colleagues adhered to the philosophy of creating tests for clinicians at no cost. ACE has always been a free test and is used around the world, including in developing countries.

He said ACE as an online medical tool meant greater access to early and decisive diagnoses. “A diagnosis can now be made anywhere there is an internet connection, which is particularly important in parts of the world where resources are limited,” he said.

“The Plymouth team have done a great job producing such an attractive and user-friendly app which I’m sure will find wide usage.”

Computerising the test also means that it can be used more easily for audit and research purposes. The research team will collect anonymised data to develop better normative data for different patient populations.

The team hopes to develop ACEmobile to become increasingly sensitive to early disease onset and any changes experienced by an individual.

ACEmobile is available for free from the iTunes store.

Posted in Allied Health

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