Test helps spot Alzheimer's

Online quiz developed by neurologist, son

Knoxville neurologist John Dougherty Jr., left, and his son, Andrew Dougherty, have teamed up to develop an online test to help aid in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease through their business Medinteract LLC.

Photo by J. Miles Cary

Knoxville neurologist John Dougherty Jr., left, and his son, Andrew Dougherty, have teamed up to develop an online test to help aid in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease through their business Medinteract LLC.

Knoxville neurologist John Dougherty Jr., left, and his son, Andrew Dougherty, have teamed up to develop an online test to help aid in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease through their business Medinteract LLC.

Photo by J. Miles Cary // Buy this photo

Knoxville neurologist John Dougherty Jr., left, and his son, Andrew Dougherty, have teamed up to develop an online test to help aid in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease through their business Medinteract LLC.

  • What: An online screening tool for the general public that can aid in the early detection of cognitive impairment
  • Creator: Medinteract LLC
  • Cost: $19.95
  • Web site: www.alzselftest.com

What if you could go to your computer and with a click of a mouse take an online test that would aid in the early detection of Alzheimer's disease?

Through their business Medinteract LLC, Knoxville neurologist John Dougherty Jr. and his son, Andrew, have teamed up to do just that with ALZselftest.

"We are empowering individuals to take care of their own brain health just as a person would have a mammogram or a man a PSA to screen for prostate cancer. This test helps with the early detection of Alzheimer's disease, which is so important to ensuring you get the best treatment options," said John Dougherty, medical director of the Cole Neuroscience Center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

The online test, which launched this month at www.alzselftest.com, evolved from a paper version that was created by Dougherty in 2002. It aims to provide an accessible and easy-to-use test that can not only identify cognitive impairment but zero in on specific areas that need improvement.

Clinical trials that began in January have proven the test to be 98 percent accurate in identifying early signs of impairment, Dougherty said.

Dougherty said the adjustment can be significant for seniors who may be uncomfortable with computers and the Internet, but the medical opportunities can be vast.

"It just opens the horizon tremendously. We've got to do the same for clinical medicine," he said.

For those uncomfortable with their computer skills, the test, which costs $19.95, has audible directions or can be taken with the aid of a friend or family member.

If Alzheimer's is postponed by three to five years, it could have a major impact, Dougherty said. Sixty percent of people with early signs of Alzheimer's are not diagnosed until they are past the early stages, when treatment options are best.

A screen shot shows an online test for Alzheimer’s patients. Clinical trials that began in January have proven the test to be 98 percent accurate in identifying early signs of impairment, Knoxville neurologist John Dougherty Jr. Dougherty said.

Photo by Submitted

A screen shot shows an online test for Alzheimer’s patients. Clinical trials that began in January have proven the test to be 98 percent accurate in identifying early signs of impairment, Knoxville neurologist John Dougherty Jr. Dougherty said.

"You don't have to cure the disease. It's a disease of such late in life if you prevent the symptoms by three to five years you could reduce the number of folks with Alzheimer's by the metropolitan population of Atlanta by almost one-half," he said.

While other tests exist, most concentrate on memory, which is not the complete picture, Andrew Dougherty said.

The father and son team say they have identified a specific pattern for Alzheimer's disease and believe they can use that to identify patterns that might help with other types of dementia.

"There's numerous specialities throughout the medical industry that we've identified as possible growth avenues," Andrew Dougherty said.

"Not only is it a good business, it also does good for the general public," he added. "It's something we're very passionate about from a professional perspective."

Business writer Carly Harrington may be reached at 865-342-6317.

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Comments » 5

cat_jets writes:

why isn't this free?

papabob (Inactive) writes:

in response to cat_jets:

why isn't this free?

It isn't free for the same reason that many medical breakthroughs are expensive.

You know,if you are poor you can just die.That's the main reason behind objections to programs to help the poor who don't qualify for medicaid.

That way we can eliminate the poor from the face of the world.

MorristownBred writes:

I agree...why isn't this free? Is the dadgum tests once you find out...on top of the medical bills, the doctor's bills, the medications & the gas it takes to get to the dadgum doctor enough? We have to pay 20 dadgum dollars to even get an early detection? What if it's negative? Then you've spent $20 for NOTHING!!! This world is going mad! Nobody will do anything for anybody anymore. It's just sad.

mas1975 writes:

Morristown - why don't you develop your own website concept, develop the database, pay for the artist and website developer, as well as the hosting of the website and the associated bandwidth costs. You have NO IDEA how much a website of this complexity costs.

Countless people blow $20 on fast food or other unhealthy items each week.

$20 for NOTHING? If the test is truly as accurate as is claimed I would think that $20 would be a wonderful investment.

Maybe you should ask the new administration in Washington to seize control and "bail out" this outagreously expensive test...

salamander70 writes:

Someone like my dad would really benefit from this. He's at least basically skilled enough to use his computer to do the exam, and there's no way he would initiate a visit to his MD or a gero specialist to talk about memory problems.

There's a generation of older folks that are using computers. Since many of them are ashamed to talk to anyone about their memory problems, this tool might be really useful.

Whatis 20 bucks if it would help give at least some insight into knowing if you have a progressive brain disease or are just slowing down?

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