University of Sydney Creates Online PPA Diagnostic Tool for Clinicians

The ACE-III online calculator can help determine which PPA variant an individual has, or rule it out as a diagnosis

Researchers at the University of Sydney have created a free online diagnostic tool to assist clinicians in identifying primary progressive aphasia and its variants.  

The web-based “calculator” is modeled after Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-III, a neuropsychological test commonly used to evaluate cognitive impairments from conditions such as PPA. Clinicians can use the ACE-III test to help determine whether they have PPA, and if so, which variant. (A manual can be found here.) 

“Diagnosing the PPA variants is difficult as the language profiles are often complex, overlapping or difficult to detect for inexperienced clinicians,” said Dr. David Foxe, who led the development of the tool. “However, it’s really important that PPA patients receive the correct diagnosis as this will ensure that they receive the right treatment. I hope my tool will improve the clinical assessment of PPA, especially in rural and primary health settings where dementia clinics are few and far between.” 

Development of the online tool began with the creation of a model based on a group of volunteers assessed using ACE-III. After using statistical tools to develop the calculator, the group then conducted two rounds of testing to evaluate its effectiveness.  

According to the University of Sydney, the tool can “predict a PPA diagnosis with a sensitivity rate of 70 to 80 percent.” A more thorough breakdown of the tool’s effectiveness can be found in the research paper published by the group in the clinical journal Brain Communications 

The easily accessible online tool adds to the growing pool of resources for healthcare professionals to help provide the most accurate and timely diagnosis.   

While the calculator can help provide clarity, it is not meant to replace diagnosis from a health care professional. If you suspect you have a form of FTD, there are a number of resources available to assist you in finding a medical professional that can help you.  

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