Researchers at the St Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) adapted the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)assessment tool for diagnosing mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease among Filipino patients.
MoCa is an assessment tool used globally to detect early onset of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and mild cognitive impairment among people of old age. The tool is a one-page 30-point test that the physician can administer to check the memory, language, recall, and other markers of cognitive acuity of a patient. Early detection of dementia will help with early medical interventions to halt the progress of the disease.
However, researchers discussed that culture and language, among other factors, are thought to affect test performance of individuals tested. Because MoCA was developed in an English-speaking country for English-speaking patients, reliability of tests results among Filipino patients may be compromised.
Aiming to create a version of MoCA that can effectively provide accurate assessment for Filipino patients, the researchers developed the MoCA-Philippines (MoCA-P) to be the Filipino version of the Canadian tool.
However, the researchers did more than just translate the one-page questionnaire to Filipino language. Instead, it involved meticulous contextual adaptation of some of the items with careful consideration of the Filipino culture. Certain items where replaced with things that Filipino elderly folks can quickly grasp or identify.
For instance, in the cross-sectional study done by researchers to test the effectiveness of MoCA-P, results showed that while Filipino grade schoolers can quickly identify the picture of a rhinoceros, majority of Filipino seniors couldn’t. In order to circumvent with this problem, the researchers replaced the rhinoceros with an image of an owl, which the elderly patients were found to be familiar with.
In the journal article published by the group, the researchers discussed that in the Philippines, early detection of dementia is often taken for granted due common belief that failing memory and of other cognitive functions is part of growing old. Thus, the development of MoCA-P is of great importance in order to determine would be sufferers, while prevention of further deterioration of cognitive functions is still possible.
Take the test in its original form: http://www.mocatest.org/pdf_files/test/MoCA-Test-English_7_1.pdf
REFERENCE: Dominguez, J. C., Orquiza, M.G.S., Soriano, J. R., Magpantay, C. D., Esteban, R. C., Corrales, M. L., Ampril, E. R. (2013). Adaptation of Montreal Cognitive Assessment for elderly Filipino patients. East Asian Archive of Psychiatry, Sep;23(3):80-5.. Retrieved from http://easap.asia/journal_file/1303_V23N3_p80.pdf