Dementia is a great challenge facing the world population. “The World Alzheimer Report 2015” stated that there are currently 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world and 49% of them reside in Asia. The number is projected to increase to 131.5 million in 2050.
The Mini Mental State Examination (“MMSE”) has been the most widely used tool for assessing global cognitive ability in many countries since it was developed in 1975. However, the creators have patented the Examination and this has led to copyright issues with its use and thus limiting the routine but hugely important application of assessing cognitive function of older people worldwide.
In view of the copyright issue and together with some identified limitations of MMSE, Professor Helen Chiu of the Department of Psychiatry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong is developing two new cognitive tests for the assessment of cognitive impairment specifically for the Chinese population. As of now, there is no cognitive test for the Chinese population and there is a strong need to address this. Professor Chiu has no plan of patenting the new tests so as to allow medical practitioners and researchers to use them as the standard screening and evaluation tool. Research results will be published in relevant local and international journals. We expect the tests to also be adopted by practitioners outside Hong Kong, bringing benefits to communities in mainland China and Taiwan.