Maëlenn Guerchet, Ph.D.
INSERM U1094 Institut de Neuroépidémiologie et Neurologie Tropicale
According to Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an estimated 2.13 million people were living with dementia in Sub-Saharan Africa as of 2015 and the number is projected to nearly double every 20 years. Studies show that lack of standardized tests to diagnose dementia could be a major issue in studying the impact of dementia across cultures. Standardization may be difficult to achieve because of the diversity of language, culture, and levels of literacy in the different regions of the world. To address the lack of standardized tests, a diagnostic test—culturally adapted (not influenced by the level of education) and accompanied by a computerized algorithm to ascertain dementia status—was developed and validated by a special group of experts brought together by the ADI. This included one African site in Nigeria. However, data from recent studies carried out in several sub-Saharan countries raised concerns about the accuracy of these tests to diagnose dementia. Dr. Maelenn Guerchet will analyze existing data from Sub-Saharan Africa to study what factors could contribute to the inaccuracy of these tests in diagnosing dementia. Furthermore, Dr. Guerchet will also study the quality of assessment such as training and administration of the tests in Kintampo, a town in Ghana. Dr. Guerchet believes that findings from this study may help refine and validate these diagnostic tests in Ghana. If successful, these results may be scaled globally across different cultures.
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