|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Test sees if your mind is in shape

    Retired Ashland professor puts free resource online to detect cognitive decline
  • If you or a family member seem to be growing more forgetful or confused, but you're not sure, an online test created by an Ashland psychologist — called Quick Screening for Memory Loss — can provide snapshots of the gray matter you can track over time.
    • email print
    • Warning signs for dementia
      Ashland psychologist David Oas says the following signs could indicate need for Quick Screening for Memory Loss tracking:
      • Forgets recently learned information, such as dates, events
      • ...
      » Read more
      X
      Warning signs for dementia
      Ashland psychologist David Oas says the following signs could indicate need for Quick Screening for Memory Loss tracking:

      • Forgets recently learned information, such as dates, events
      • Finds it hard to follow plans, recipes, bills
      • Hard to finish tasks such as washing clothes, making a sandwich
      • How did I get here and why?
      • Misplaces things, can't retrace steps
      • Poor money choices
      • Withdrawal from work, social activities, hobbies
      • Confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, anxious
  • If you or a family member seem to be growing more forgetful or confused, but you're not sure, an online test created by an Ashland psychologist — called Quick Screening for Memory Loss — can provide snapshots of the gray matter you can track over time.
    The 15-minute QSML test displays geometric figures and asks you to pick them out of a lineup, seeing how many you accurately "retrieve from storage" in your brain, says inventor David Oas, 77, a retired clinical psychologist and Southern Oregon University psychology professor.
    Mental faculties mature at age 14 and maintain a peak arc until around age 50, when they go into gradual decline, says Oas, and QSML can track that. It can also point out the small percentage of people who have early onset Alzheimer's, along with traumatic brain injuries, alcoholism or other issues that potentially should be taken to a physician. However, it is not a diagnostic test.
    "Ultimately, people have to reckon with themselves and recognize that someone in the family is going to need care," he notes.
    The test quantifies any increase in error scores and can be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Oas seeks to cooperate with the Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch program, using the QSML as a predictive and screening tool.
    The test can bring up anxiety, as people can miss three or four images and start to feel they are losing their old edge, so Oas suggests taking it again and doing it at regular intervals to get an accurate pattern of performance. Intelligence matters, he notes. Smart people miss fewer.
    Oas became fascinated with memory as a child in Minnesota, watching his mother memorize whole books, including all the Psalms and Book of Revelation in the Bible and John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," and recite them without flaw. He learned French, enough to read it, in a weekend and would bring his daughter Rebecca, then 5, to his psychology classes, where she would beat all students in memory card games. (She's now designing power grids for acute care hospitals and medical clinics as an electrical engineer.)
    Two of his sons, Derek and Leland, plan to further the research in their fields of study. Derek is getting a doctorate in statistics, and Leland is a junior majoring in psychology. The research also will be furthered by SOU psychology teacher John Taylor.
    The free test can be found at www.screeningformemoryloss.com. Oas is encouraging people to take it now, then every six months, to help make a "serial assessment" database of user's memories over time. He suggests taking it in the privacy of your home, where you can relax, concentrate and do your best.
    The test asks your gender, education, age and country, but not your name or personal data, so you can take it anonymously.
    Since retirement from SOU, Oas has expanded his work to include screenplays, movie production and evaluation of criminal suspects and police officers.
    John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.
Reader Reaction

      calendar