Washington, August 13 (ANI): Asking people, aged 40-65, to recognize well-known faces like scientist Albert Einstein, business tycoon Bill Gates or talk show host Oprah Winfrey, can help doctors spot early-onset of dementia, a new study has revealed.
Lead author of the study, Tamar Gefen, from the Northwestern University, said that the tests also differentiate between recognizing a face and actually naming it, which can help identify the specific type of cognitive impairment, a person has.
Face recognition tests exist to help identify dementia, but they are outdated and more suitable for an older generation.
The study also used quantitative software to analyze MRI scans of the brains of the individuals, who completed the test to understand the brain areas important for naming and recognition of famous faces.
For the study, 30 people with primary progressive aphasia, a type of early onset dementia that mainly affects language, and 27 people without dementia, all an average age of 62, were given a test.
The test included 20 famous faces printed in black and white, including John F. Kennedy, Lucille Ball, Princess Diana, Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley.
Participants were given points for each face they could name. If the subject could not name the face, he or she was asked to identify the famous person through description.
Participants gained more points by providing at least two relevant details about the person. The two groups also underwent MRI brain scans.
Researchers found that the people, who had primary progressive aphasia, performed significantly worse on the test, scoring an average of 79 percent in recognition of famous faces and 46 percent in naming the faces, compared to 97 percent in recognition and 93 percent on naming for those free of dementia.
The study was published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. (ANI)