The Israeli population is primarily comprised of Jews and Arabs, with the Arabs having higher prevalence rates of dementia (10-20%). However, misdiagnosis is also common. According to our previous study, Arabs attend the cognitive clinic at younger ages than their Jewish counterparts and have more advanced stages of cognitive impairment and higher rates of Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer disease. Furthermore, genetic disorders and consanguineous marriages are common among the Israeli Arabs, all of which can explain the higher prevalence rates of dementia. Factors such as high illiteracy rates, and lower socioeconomic status are also common among elder Arabs. In Israel, clinical evaluation for cognitive disorders is minimally reimbursed by the national health care providers. Since Arabs have lower socioeconomic levels compared to their Jewish counterparts, they experience disparities in diagnosis and treatment for cognitive disorders. The lack of availability of accurate and culturally valid assessment tools for early detection of cognitive disorders for the Arab population further compounds this problem.
This research proposes to address this problem by introducing a brief cognitive assessment tool needed for the early detection of cognitive impairment called the TabCAT-BHA. This tool is used for research and clinical cognitive examination and has been shown to accurately detect cognitive impairment and dementia with diverse cultures and educational levels. It has already been translated and adapted for the Arabic population, can be administered in 10 minutes, scoring is automated, and is partially self-administered. TabCAT-BHA was chosen because it is inexpensive, objective, and short. This research will test the validity of TabCAT-BHA for detecting cognitive impairment in the Israeli Arabs. Additionally, we will compare two different memory tests, to understand which one is more accurate among Arabs. The implementation and validation of this novel technology at our clinics will facilitate the early detection of cognitive impairment in this Israeli Arab population, representing a unique and special opportunity to solve the problem of both misdiagnosis and delays in the accurate diagnosis of dementia because of the lack of culturally valid cognitive assessment tools.