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Self-Reporting Brain Monitor Helps Track Dementia

Self-Reporting Brain Monitor Helps Track Dementia

A new study has found that a patient self-reporting version of the Healthy Aging Brain Care Monitor, which measures cognitive, functional and psychological symptoms, is user-friendly, reliable and sensitive to changes in symptoms.

The Healthy Aging Brain Center Monitor measures 27 items on a four-point scale to assess cognitive, functional, and psychological symptoms. It can be used by a patient’s health care team to track scores over time to note declines or improvements.

Depression, anxiety, and inability to cope with demands of daily living are common in older adults. The patient self-reporting version of the HABC Monitor helps busy physicians accurately measure and monitor the severity of symptoms, providing valuable information that the patient’s entire care team needs,” said Malaz Boustani, M.D., M.P.H., a researcher at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, Ind., an informatics and health care research group associated with the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Self-reported cognitive measurements on the HABC Monitor, which was developed by researchers from Regenstrief and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research, include the ability to correctly identify the month and year, the ability to memorize and the ability to handle complex financial affairs.

Functional measurements include the ability to learn to use a tool, appliance, or gadget; planning and preparing meals; and the ability to conduct activities of daily living, such as bathing, shopping, and performing household chores.

Psychological measurements include scores on depression, anxiety, irritability, and appetite.

“We found that, like the caregiver version of the tool which we previously developed, the patient-reported information yields an accurate assessment of the patient’s cognitive, functional, and psychological well-being,” said Patrick Monahan, Ph.D., an associate professor of biostatistics at the aging research center.

“However, if a patient self-reports a perfect cognitive score, further performance testing or clinical examination or caregiver-reported HABC Monitor information is recommended to rule out the possibility that the patient is unaware of cognitive symptoms.”

For the study, researchers recruited 291 patients with a mean age of 72 years. About 56 percent of the study participants were African-American, and 76 percent were female. All were patients age 65 or older seen at Eskenazi Health primary-care clinics.

Older patients seeing primary-care physicians typically have multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes, depression, anxiety, cancer, stroke, dementia, or chronic heart failure, the researchers noted. That is why a tool that measures a wide range of relevant symptoms is beneficial to clinicians when monitoring these patients’ treatment plans, they said.

The study was published in Clinical Interventions in Aging.

Source: Indiana University

Patient completing a self-reporting form photo by shutterstock.

Self-Reporting Brain Monitor Helps Track Dementia

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2018). Self-Reporting Brain Monitor Helps Track Dementia. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 30 Dec 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.