A group of experts questioned the reliability of the sixteen tests for Alzheimer's disease available online. These evaluations, deemed inadmissible scientifically, attracting several million visitors per month.
On the occasion of the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, which takes place at this time in Boston, the scientists decided to raise the alarm. They are based on a study published in March and based on the analysis of Canadian sites content.
"Nearly 80% of Internet users, a growing proportion of older people seeking medical information and online diagnostics," said Julie Robillard, Ph.D., working at the National Core for Neuroethics of Columbia University Vancouver-British.
Tests considered "bad" or "very bad"
A group of experts composed of geriatricians, specialists in human-computer interaction and neuroethics and neuropsychologists have sifted sixteen tests available online for free for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
They have thus demonstrated that twelve of the sixteen tests studied were getting "bad" or "very bad" results in terms of reliability and validity, and could therefore be considered unnecessary for the diagnosis of senile dementia.
A good tool for seniors
These tests, while deemed to be unreliable, remain interesting tools in their structure and accessibility for the elderly.
Their visual appearance as that teaching could give them, if their criteria were revalued, a real place in the management of the disease.
According to Inserm, the number of Alzheimer's patients is expected to reach two million in France in 2020. Currently, no treatment can cure the disease or slow its progression.
Source: study "Content and Quality of Information Provided Dementia on Canadian Websites," Canadian Geriatrics Journal, March 2013.