The Birmingham Cognitive Screen (BCoS) is a paper and pencil assessment used to assess aspects of memory in people with cognitive impairment. It was developed initially for understanding the cognitive profiles of survivors of stroke. It helps indicate whether a person might have difficulty in memory, communication, attention, decision making, planning or carrying out everyday tasks.

The BCoS was developed at the University of Birmingham by a team of behavioural brain scientists over a ten year period, thanks to the initial funding from the Stroke Association.

The ‘Assessing the cognitive profiles of different types of dementia‘ study aims to compare performance on the BCoS in different clinical groups of younger patients (under 75) with mild dementia. In the first stage of the research, the profiles between individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and individuals with a diagnosis of Vascular Dementia will be compared.

BCoS will also be compared with an existing assessment, the ACE-3, used routinely for dementia assessment, on how well BCoS reflects the full range of abilities within individuals.

Wai-Ling BickertonThe study was added to Join Dementia Research back in May. Dr Wai-Ling Bickterton is part of the research team, we caught up with her to find out more.

What are the main aims of the ‘Assessing the cognitive profiles of different types of dementia’ study?

BCoS’s design was informed by previous research that tell us about different ways our brains process information.  It aims to tease out the different thinking abilities, so we can better identify skills that are maintained and skills that might have changed due to dementia or injuries to the brain.  The BCoS assessment is designed to enable individuals to demonstrate their abilities even when they find it hard to express themselves through spoken words.  BCoS was well established in assessing thinking abilities after a stroke. The aims of the current study are:

1) to pilot the BCoS assessment for individuals with a diagnosis of dementia.

2) to examine if the profiles of abilities and difficulties can be consistently differentiated across different dementia types; this would help inform future diagnosis and support plans.

What does it involve for a participant?

IMG_1616 (1)Typically, I visit the individuals in their homes, we spend about an hour to go through a series of short paper and pencil tasks that require different types of thinking skills. We can then have a chat after the assessment to discuss any questions the participants might have after the experience.

If the participant prefers, the assessment can also take place at the Memory Assessment Service in Birmingham or at the University of Birmingham.

How long is the study for? / Is it a one-off visit?

Yes, for most participants, it requires only a one-off visit.  It is also possible to break the assessment into two sessions if that is better for some people.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

I am hoping that we can offer a user-friendly assessment that is reliable and informative to improve the diagnosis process of dementia as well as to better advise an individual’s support plan after a diagnosis.

Where is the study based?

The current phase of the project is undertaken as part of my clinical psychology training, based at the University of Birmingham.

How has Join Dementia Research helped with recruitment?

Join Dementia Research has very effectively put me in touch with individuals who are interested in gaining better understanding of the changes in their thinking skills.  Everyone who has participated through Join Dementia Research so far have been a great pleasure to work with, as they engaged really well in the process and often give very positive feedback about the experience.  I have learnt a lot from them.


The study is now looking for people aged under 75 years with a diagnosis of vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Participants should also live in the West Midlands area.

two-people-discussing (1)You can see if you are eligible for this study – and others around the nation by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.
Still not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?