BackgroundGrowing awareness of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has prompted a demand for quick and effective ways to screen for memory loss and cognitive decline in large numbers of individuals in the community. Periodic Memory Screening Day events provide free, brief cognitive screening aimed at those 65 years and older, and can serve as an opportunity to gauge participants' attitudes towards AD research and recruit them into ongoing research projects.
MethodsOver 6 single-day events in 2 years, more than 574 individuals were individually screened using the MoCA and a story recall task (immediate and delayed), given feedback about their performance, and introduced to AD research and opportunities to participate.
ResultsScreening classified 297 individuals (52.0%) as having "No Decline," 192 (33.6%) as "Possible decline," and 82 (14.4%) as "Likely decline." Those with "Likely decline" were older and less educated, had more memory concerns, were more likely to be men, and were less likely to have a positive family history of dementia than those with "No Decline." Subsequent validation of screening procedures against a full clinical evaluation showed 72% classification accuracy with a skew towards over-calling Possible and Likely decline and thereby guiding questionable individuals to a more thorough evaluation. Of those screened, 378 (66%) agreed to additional research and consented to being listed in a research registry, and a majority (70-85%) of those consenting reported they were amenable to various AD research procedures including lumbar puncture, MRI, and autopsy. Overall, 19.1% of those screened met inclusion criteria for ongoing studies and were successfully recruited into AD research.
ConclusionsConducting a few concentrated community memory screening events each year may help meet the public's demand for brief assessment of memory concerns and can be a relatively effective and efficient recruitment strategy for AD research.