What we do
Early diagnosis of neurodegenerative dementias
What we do
Mild cognitive impairment
Early diagnosis of dementia poses several challenges
Memory problems, and alterations in speech or executive functions, can be among the first symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, in which the underlying pathological changes can begin as early as 15 years beforehand. However, these symptoms can also be associated with stress, anxiety, depression, and other non-neurodegenerative disorders, making the diagnosis of early-stage dementia particularly difficult.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a syndrome that encompasses a number of symptoms. Patients with MCI present with alterations in memory, speech, and executive functions that are beyond those expected for their age and level of education. Memory problems and behavioural alterations are normal elements of the ageing process. However, in some cases, these can be early symptoms of dementia. The Raman HT test could identify MCI patients who show signs of neurodegeneration and are therefore at greater risk of developing dementia. If a positive result is obtained, the neurologist would determine whether further testing is required. A negative result could help alleviate the uncertainty associated with the potential onset of dementia.
How is early-stage dementia diagnosed?
The first step is to determine whether the cognitive changes perceived by the patient or those around them are normal for their age. A patient is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) if a clinical examination reveals objective alterations in memory or language, but these are not so severe as to interfere with the patient's daily activities. Epidemiological studies show that patients with MCI have a high risk of progressing to neurodegenerative dementias such as Alzheimer's disease.
About 50% of patients with MCI progress to dementia after 3 years of follow-up (*).
While neuropsychological tests can reliably identify mild cognitive impairment, they provide limited information about the underlying aetiology (i.e., whether it is caused by neurodegeneration or other conditions such as depression or stress). Determining the cause requires other tests (imaging/laboratory tests, etc.)
The Raman HT test is designed for use in patients with mild cognitive impairment to determine whether their symptoms are the result of a neurodegenerative dementia
Patients who experience memory problems will visit a doctor. Usually, the doctor will conduct a test designed to assess cognitive impairment. While these tests can be conclusive when the patient has dementia, clinical diagnosis is often inconclusive in the early stages, before the onset of functional impairment. MCI can be caused by a wide variety of factors, and can even be reversible.
Raman HT has identified spectroscopic alterations (biomarkers) in the blood of dementia patients that are not observed in the blood of healthy volunteers.