A SIMPLE 60-second test could reveal if a person’s headaches are caused by a brain tumor.
Headaches, one of the many signs of a brain tumor, can often be dismissed until the disease has progressed.
But a simple speech test developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh could help diagnose brain tumors earlier.
It challenges participants to name as many animals as possible in 60 seconds – hence the name “Noah’s Ark” test.
A study analyzed its effectiveness with 270 people.
It was found that people with brain tumors had significantly lower scores than those with headaches who did not have a tumor.
The test is already being used to assess the cognitive function of patients with neurological disorders, including brain tumors.
But researchers say this is the first time it’s been studied to speed up diagnosis.
Earlier diagnosis can speed access to treatments and maximize quality of life.
However, more research is needed to validate and optimize the test.
dr Paul Brennan, a consultant neurosurgeon at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital who led the study, said the first symptoms in patients with brain tumors are often “non-specific”.
He said: “The first symptoms that appear in patients with a brain tumor are often non-specific, such as headaches, where a non-tumor diagnosis is much more likely.
“For example, out of 1,000 people who present to a GP with a headache, only 1 or 2 have a brain tumor.
“Our study showed that a simple speech test that is quick and easy to administer could help GPs decide who is most likely to have a brain tumor.
“Symptomatic patients with low scores could be prioritized for rapid imaging, while other patients with high scores could be monitored as they are more likely to improve.
“Our results are important to demonstrate the proof-of-concept, and we now need to validate this test in a larger group of patients to prove if it could aid in referral for suspected brain cancer.”
“Decreasing the time to diagnosis for people with a brain tumor remains critical as it means faster access to treatment, which is critical to maximizing patients’ quality of life.”
Heather Dearie, 35, from Ayrshire, was diagnosed with a late-stage brain tumor and is hoping the Noah’s Ark test will save others from their nightmare ordeal.
For 18 months, Ms Dearie visited her GP more than 10 times with symptoms.
She was eventually told she had an acoustic neuroma brain tumor – but at that point required emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain from a buildup of fluid.
Ms Dearie said: “This could be a really significant step forward.
“We urgently need to find new tools to support GPs and I really hope this test will help speed up the diagnostic process and enable more people to get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.”
“Having my brain tumor diagnosed earlier could have changed my life completely and meant I would have had little to none of the lifelong side effects I now have.
“I was misdiagnosed for 18 months before my tumor was finally discovered, and by then it was too late for an alternative treatment to surgery.”
The operation left Ms Dearie with facial paralysis, 50 percent deafness, balance and vision problems, fatigue, nerve damage and muscle spasms.
She said: “I had to undergo four corrective surgeries which I would not have needed if the tumor had been found sooner.
“I’m in constant pain and it affects every aspect of normal life.”
According to The Brain Tumor Charity, which funded the study, over 12,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor each year.
Over 5,300 people die from brain cancer each year, and only 12 percent of adults survive five years after diagnosis.
Brain tumors are the number one cancer killer in children and adults under the age of 40.
The signs of a brain tumor
Headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons, you could be dehydrated or even stressed.
Most headaches can be corrected with painkillers, but if your headaches are persistent or getting worse, then this could be a sign of a brain tumor.
If you experience nausea and the regular nausea is unexplained, this could be a sign of a brain tumor.
The NHS advises if you feel persistently ill, or are constantly ill and feel sleepy, you should see your GP.
Seizures can often be a warning sign that you have a brain tumor.
It’s when you experience an involuntary movement and are unable to control your arms or legs.
Feeling weak isn’t uncommon – if you’ve eaten too little or if you’ve been exerting yourself properly, you can feel a little drained.
But regularly feeling weak when you’re rested, have eaten well, and have no other known cause is a warning sign of cancer that should be checked out.
vision or speech problems
Speech problems and blurred vision can be signs of all sorts of medical conditions.
Too much alcohol or stress or anxiety can cause these symptoms.
But it’s often a warning sign of a tumor – the next step is to see an optometrist or doctor if you notice a change.
It’s common to feel many different moods and emotions in one day.
Generally, the cause is stress or the task you are doing, but if you notice a change in yourself or a loved one that you cannot explain, it could be a sign of Cancer.
The NHS says that “mental or behavioral changes, such as memory problems or personality changes” could be signs of a brain tumour.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/health-news/5571855/simple-minute-noahs-ark-language-test-headaches-brain-tumour/ A simple 60-second Noah’s Ark speech test can reveal if your headache is a brain tumor