AD8 Dementia Screening Interview for Caregivers

The AD8 (Eight-item Informant Interview to Differentiate Aging and Dementia) is an 8-item questionnaire that can help to screen for dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease). It is considered an informant-based assessment because instead of the patient being questioned, the patient’s informant (usually a spouse, child, or non-family caregiver) is asked to assess whether there have been changes in the past few years in certain areas of cognition and functioning. These include memoryorientation, executive functioning, and interest in activities. The AD8 has a yes or no format and takes only 3 minutes or so to complete. As with any dementia test, the AD8 is a screening test and does not take the place of a thorough diagnostic workup.

A doctor talking to her patient about test results

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Scoring of the AD8

Scoring of the AD8 is extremely simple: two or more “yes” answers are strongly suggestive of dementia, with the test having a sensitivity of more than 84% and a specificity of more than 80%. Sensitivity refers to the test’s accuracy in identifying individuals with the disease (i.e., persons with dementia test as positive). Specificity refers to the test’s effectiveness in identifying people who do not have the disease (i.e., persons without dementia test as negative).

Usefulness

In addition to its use as a screening test for dementia, the AD8 is especially useful as a way to involve the caregiver. Caregivers can complete the AD8 at home in the presence of their loved one and then bring the results to the appointment, which may help the clinician to more effectively diagnose and treat dementia.

Overall Advantages and Disadvantages

The AD8 is a rapidly administered, reliable test for Alzheimer’s and other dementia that can be performed at home or in other settings. It has an extremely simple scoring system, with two or more “yes” answers suggesting that further diagnostic tests are warranted. A disadvantage is that an informant may not be available.

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  1. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis: Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center. AD8 dementia screening interview.

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