People over 65 are seeking out information about Alzheimer’s online and ending up with useless tests linked to sales pitches, says UBC researcher Julie Robillard.
According to the Vancouver Sun, Robillard, a post-doctoral fellow at the National Core for Neuroethics, asked specialists, including neuropsychologists and ethicists, to examine 16 typical online dementia tests and found 12 were “problematic.”
“The majority of the tests reviewed by a panel of experts found they were not scientifically valid so that means they’re minimally useful to give you any information about whether you have dementia or not. And we also found that all the tests in our sample had ethical limitations such as conflict of interest … or issues of privacy and confidentiality,” Robillard told the Vancouver Sun.
The most recent figures from Statistics Canada says 70 per cent of people over the age of 65 were regularly online in 2012. Older web users are the fastest-growing group in Canada, Statscan said.
For health information, Robillard suggests sticking to reputable national advocacy groups like the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.