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New app to assist in diagnosis of younger-onset language dementias

The FRONTIER Research Group launches the SYDBAT app
The Sydney Language Battery (SYDBAT) app will assist clinicians in diagnosing rare younger-onset language dementias.

The FRONTIER Research Group, from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre and School of Psychology, is launching its new app that will improve the diagnosis of patients with rare younger-onset language dementias, known as primary progressive aphasia (PPA).

PPAs generally present before the age of 65 years and affects the ability to speak and communicate. PPAs are difficult to diagnose early because of their variable and subtle presentations, leading to costly visits to the doctor and delayed access to treatment and care services.

“Providing PPA patients with a correct diagnosis is central to appropriate clinical care, possible drug intervention and management” says Professor Olivier Piguet, Director of the FRONTIER Research Group. “However, PPA patients are often misdiagnosed due to their complex speech and language presentations” says Professor Piguet.

This led the FRONTIER team to develop the Sydney Language Battery (SYDBAT)—a short and freely available clinical test of language to assist in the diagnosis of PPA. The SYDBAT is widely used by clinicians in Australia and abroad and was recently translated for use in the Netherlands.

This week, FRONTIER has launched the SYDBAT App on the Apple App Store. The SYDBAT App provides four tests of language and speech in an easy-to-use format, and includes automatic scoring, speech recording and data exporting.

“I have used the SYDBAT for many years when assessing PPA. It is a proven test.” says Dr David Foxe, a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher with FRONTIER. “The SYDBAT is widely used by neuropsychologists and dementia clinicians in Australia. It’s really exciting to see it developed for the iPad”.

Professor Piguet says that the SYDBAT App will be freely available for clinicians and can be used in most clinical settings. It will be particularly useful for clinicians in rural Australian settings who do not have access to specialist services.

The SYDBAT App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

For more information on PPA, see our previous article or visit frontierftd.org.

Clinicians can arrange a referral to the FRONTIER Research Group at the Brain and Mind Centre by emailing frontier@sydney.edu.au.

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