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Suggest treatment for dementia

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Posted on Thu, 14 May 2015
Question: why is serial 7's chosen for the concentration task, why not 8 or 9?? Is there any harder numbers than 7 for the concentration task> or any harder tests in general??
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Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
no 7 is harder than 8 or 9

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX

Thanks for writing to us.

Serial sevens, counting down from one hundred by sevens, is a clinical test used to test mental function.It helps to assess mental status after possible head injury or in suspected cases of dementia. This well-known test is adopted as part of the mini-mental state examination.

On its own, the inability to perform 'serial sevens' is not diagnostic of any particular disorder or impairment, but is generally used as a quick and easy test of concentration and memory in any number of situations where clinicians suspect that these cognitive functions might be affected.

Similar tests include serial threes where the counting downwards is done by threes, reciting the months of the year in reverse order,week days in backward order or spelling 'world' backwards.When person is not good at maths or illiterate we use these type of tests. We sometime apply serial 4 beginning from 25 also.

A study involving uninjured high school athletes concluded that the serial sevens test is not appropriate when testing for concentration because it lacks specificity; the pass rate is too low to give any meaningful result. The ability to recite the months in reverse order was thought to be a more effective measure because the pass rate was higher for that test in uninjured athletes.

From mathematical and psychological point of view 8 and 9 are easier to use in calculation.And since more than 60 years 7 test is used clinically & is the hardest among all single digit numbers for subtraction calculation.

7 serial test is just a part of XXXXXXX mental status examination. It can not assess anything as an alone test.There are lots of tests in general to assess memory. However which test should be used is decided on person's physical and mental status, IQ, age, education background and purpose of the test.


Hope this answer is helpful. I will be happy to help further.

Regards,
Dr.Chintan Solanki.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Chintan Solanki (1 hour later)
I have another question. The first time I performed the serial 7's I did terribly. I practiced and can now do it extremely easily even subtracting from different numbers, for example serial 7's from 157 or 175 etc. Is this a good sign?
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Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki (22 hours later)
Brief Answer:
It is absolutely good sign

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX

Thanks for follow up.

Sorry for delayed answer due to some unavoidable work.

If you are able to do serial 7 from any number it is very good. Actually first time failure is not an indication or diagnostic for any problem. Sometime in stress person does the mistake.

Hope you have undergone similar testing also with serial 7 and it was fine.
The way you narrated your question is also suggesting that there is no memory problem in your case.


Feel free to discuss further if you have any doubt yet.

All the best.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Chintan Solanki (40 minutes later)
Thankyou, you have been very helpful!

I just have one more question. Does the digit span test measure the same cognitive domain as the serial 7's? Because I scored very highly on both the forward and backward digit spans (a string of 9 digits and 8 digits respectively). It was just strange that I could score highly in one test and not the other.
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Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki (42 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
no they both assess somewhat different domains

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thanks for query.

Digit span assesses mainly working memory and attention. How many numbers (sometimes letters or words given) one can remember in specific order and retain in same order.
While 7 serial test measures concentration with logical and mathematical capacity of the cognition with attention and use of learned memory .

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Answered by
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Dr. Chintan Solanki

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Practicing since :2007

Answered : 2406 Questions

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Suggest treatment for dementia

Brief Answer: no 7 is harder than 8 or 9 Detailed Answer: Hello XXXXXXX Thanks for writing to us. Serial sevens, counting down from one hundred by sevens, is a clinical test used to test mental function.It helps to assess mental status after possible head injury or in suspected cases of dementia. This well-known test is adopted as part of the mini-mental state examination. On its own, the inability to perform 'serial sevens' is not diagnostic of any particular disorder or impairment, but is generally used as a quick and easy test of concentration and memory in any number of situations where clinicians suspect that these cognitive functions might be affected. Similar tests include serial threes where the counting downwards is done by threes, reciting the months of the year in reverse order,week days in backward order or spelling 'world' backwards.When person is not good at maths or illiterate we use these type of tests. We sometime apply serial 4 beginning from 25 also. A study involving uninjured high school athletes concluded that the serial sevens test is not appropriate when testing for concentration because it lacks specificity; the pass rate is too low to give any meaningful result. The ability to recite the months in reverse order was thought to be a more effective measure because the pass rate was higher for that test in uninjured athletes. From mathematical and psychological point of view 8 and 9 are easier to use in calculation.And since more than 60 years 7 test is used clinically & is the hardest among all single digit numbers for subtraction calculation. 7 serial test is just a part of XXXXXXX mental status examination. It can not assess anything as an alone test.There are lots of tests in general to assess memory. However which test should be used is decided on person's physical and mental status, IQ, age, education background and purpose of the test. Hope this answer is helpful. I will be happy to help further. Regards, Dr.Chintan Solanki.