IU physicians, researchers using new screening tools for early detection of Alzheimer’s
IU School of Medicine Jun 01, 2022
INDIANAPOLIS—Some patients in Indiana are now able to receive new screenings for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease thanks to a pilot program at Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University Health.
The program is part of the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative (DAC), a public-private alliance uniting organizations worldwide in hopes of accelerating breakthroughs and equipping health care systems to end Alzheimer’s disease. IU is one of seven pilot sites launching this month, with locations in the United States, Scotland, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico and Brazil. The American Academy of Neurology recommends digital cognitive screenings for Alzheimer’s for adults over age 65 once a year, but that is currently not part of typical primary care practices. The program will help test the barriers and challenges of digital screening to determine the feasibility of widespread use.
“This program will allow our primary care physicians to use a digital cognitive assessment tool to screen patients for Alzheimer’s and electronically check brain function as part of their normal primary care visit,” said Deanna Willis, MD, family medicine professor of primary care and population health research and vice chair of research at IU School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine. Willis is also a family medicine physician at IU Health. “If necessary, we can offer a blood-based biomarker research test that could aid in the accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the need for more expensive or difficult to access tests. From there, we can refer them to a neurologist or other specialist.”
The biomarker is known as the PrecivityAD™ test, developed by specialty diagnostics company C2N, to help evaluate the cause of identified symptoms as part of its program.“We’re proud and excited to play a key role in IU’s groundbreaking work to enable Alzheimer’s early detection,” said Joel Braunstein, MD, co-founder and CEO of C2N Diagnostics. “Harnessing the power of advanced diagnostics like our PrecivityAD™ test at all of DAC’s pilot sites will accelerate the fight to end Alzheimer’s.”
IU will also use Linus Health’s Core Cognitive Evaluation, which marks a significant technological advance over paper-and-pencil tests in terms of objectivity and actionability. It also reduces the need for broad neuropsychological testing, which is time consuming for patients and requires specialized providers for administration. The Core Cognitive Evaluation is completely iPad-based and combines a digital assessment with a lifestyle-based patient questionnaire to generate actionable insights for both providers and patients.
“Linus Health is honored that IU School of Medicine and IU Health selected our Core Cognitive Evaluation to help them identify early signs of cognitive impairment as part of their work with the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative to accelerate early detection of Alzheimer's disease,” said David Bates, PhD, Linus Health’s CEO.
In addition to using these screening tools for IU Health patients, researchers from IU School of Medicine will study use of the method to find out the benefit of long-term, widespread use in other health care systems.
“This is a brand new, innovative program that we are excited to be part of,” Willis said. “We’re putting these screening tools in place at six IU Health primary care locations and studying the science of it at IU School of Medicine to determine how it can be implemented around the world. It shows the exciting impact this collaboration is making for people in Indiana and beyond.”
“IU School of Medicine and IU Health are pioneering providing better treatment today for Alzheimer’s patients and paving the way for new treatments in the future,” said George Vradenburg, founding chairman of the board for Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative. “These medical professionals will utilize cutting-edge technology to change the way we deliver care and help prepare health care systems to get the right treatments to the right patients at every stage of the disease.”
IU School of Medicine/IU Health hopes to screen 3,600 patients at six IU Health primary care sites in the Indianapolis area over the next six months.
About IU School of Medicine
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.
About IU Health
Named among the “Best Hospitals in America” by U.S. News & World Report for 24 consecutive years, Indiana University Health is dedicated to providing a unified standard of preeminent, patient-centered care. A unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine—one of the nation’s leading medical schools—gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology. iuhealth.org
About the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative
Launched at the World Economic Forum’s 2021 meeting on The Davos Agenda, The Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative is a multi-stakeholder partnership committed to aligning stakeholders with a new vision for our collective global response against the challenges Alzheimer’s presents to patients, caregivers and healthcare infrastructures. Convened by The World Economic Forum and The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) and fueled by a mission of service to the estimated 150 million families and half a billion people inevitably impacted by this disease by 2050, DAC is a collaborative for the benefit of all people, in all places.