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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Language test could lead to earlier diagnosis

A simple language test devised by researchers at the University of Edinburgh could help diagnose brain tumours earlier.

The “Noah’s Ark” task asks participants to name as many animals as they can in 60 seconds and could help GPs identify patients with common symptoms such as headaches who are most likely to have a brain tumour, the study suggests.

Funded by The Brain Tumour Charity, the study involved 270 people. Those with brain tumours were found to have significantly lower scores than those presenting with headaches but did not have a tumour.

The test is already used in assessing cognitive function for patients with neurological conditions – including brain tumours – but researchers say this is the first time it has been investigated as a way to speed up the diagnosis of brain tumours.

Our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, Dr Karen Noble said: “This is a welcome development on the route to earlier brain tumour diagnosis. However to deliver real patient benefit, an earlier diagnosis must then be supported by access to treatment options, therapeutic choices and where possible placement on clinical trials. For this to happen there needs to be investment in the early-stage science that begins the translational pipeline and underpins all clinical innovation. Funding and campaigning to secure this investment is, and will remain, the bedrock of Brain Tumour Research.”

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