Simple 60-second Noah's Ark language test can reveal if your headache is a brain tumour | The Sun

A SIMPLE 60-second test could reveal if a person’s headaches are being caused by a brain tumour.

One of the many signs of a brain tumour, headaches can often be dismissed until the disease has developed further.

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

It asks participants to name as many animals as they can in 60 seconds – hence the name the “Noah’s Ark” test.

A study analysed its efficacy using 270 people.

Those with brain tumours were found to have significantly lower scores than those presenting with headaches who did not have a tumour.

Read more on cancer

Eating common carbs ‘increases your risk of breast cancer by 20%’

Just ONE popular drink a day ‘increases risk of liver cancer by 78%’

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.

Earlier diagnosis can prompt access to treatments and maximise quality of life.

However, further research is needed to validate and optimise the test.

Most read in News Health


Deborah James looks stunning in polka dots as she beams at Royal Ascot


Drinking one beer a day is GOOD for your gut – ‘slashing risk of silent killers’


Warning to anyone who's had Omicron over threat from new Covid strains


Five foods to AVOID if you have hay fever – including two you WON’T want to ditch

Dr Paul Brennan, a consultant neurosurgeon at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital who led the study, said the first symptoms experienced by those with brain tumours are often “non-specific”.

He said: “The first symptoms experienced by patients with a brain tumour are often non-specific, such as headache, where a non-tumour diagnosis is much more likely.

“For example, for every 1,000 people presenting to a GP with headaches, just one or two will have a brain tumour.

“Our study showed that a simple language test, which can be quickly and easily administered, could help GPs decide who is most likely to have a brain tumour.

“Symptomatic patients with low scores could be prioritised for rapid imaging whilst other patients with high scores could be monitored as they are more likely to improve.

“Our findings are important in demonstrating proof-of-concept and we now need to validate this test in a larger group of patients to prove whether it could help guide referral for suspected brain cancer.

“Reducing time to diagnosis for people with a brain tumour remains critical as it means more rapid access to treatment, which is crucial to maximising patients’ quality of life.”

Heather Dearie, 35, from Ayrshire, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at a late stage, and hopes the Noah’s Ark test will save others from her 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 tumour – but by this time she needed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on her brain from a build-up of fluid.

Ms Dearie said: “This could be a really significant advance. 

“We urgently need to find new tools to support GPs and I really hope this test will help speed up the diagnosis process and help enable more people to get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.

“Having my brain tumour diagnosed earlier could have changed my life completely and meant I would have had little to none of the lifelong side effects I have now.

“I was misdiagnosed for 18 months before my tumour was finally discovered and by then it was too late for any alternative treatment to surgery.”

Surgery left Ms Dearie with facial paralysis, 50 per cent deafness, balance and vision issues, fatigue, nerve damage and muscle spasms.

She said: “I’ve had to have four corrective surgeries which I wouldn’t have needed had the tumour been found earlier. 

“I’m in constant pain and it’s affected every aspect of a normal life.”

Over 12,000 people are diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumour, according to The Brain Tumour Charity, which funded the study.

Read More on The Sun

Millions urged to claim Universal Credit NOW or miss £650 cost of living payment

I’m a wrinkly gran-of-17 & my man’s 24 – trolls say I’m old but we’re baby-ready

Over 5,300 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year, and just 12 per cent of adults survive five years after diagnosis.

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.

The signs of a brain tumour



Headaches can be caused by a myriad of reasons, you could be dehydrated or even stressed.

Most of the time headaches can be fixed by pain killers, but if your headache is persistent or is getting worse, then this could be a sign of brain cancer.


If you are suffering with nausea and regular sickness is unexplained this could be a sign of brain cancer.

The NHS advises if you persistently feel sick or if you are consistently being sick and you feel drowsy you should see your GP.


Seizures can often be a red flag you may have a brain tumour.

It is when you suffer an involuntary movement and are unable to control your arms or legs.


Feeling weak is not unusual – if you haven't eaten enough or have really exerted yourself you can feel a bit wobbly.

But feeling weak regularly despite being rested, eating well and with no other known reason is a warning sign of cancer you should get checked out.

Vision or speech problems

Speech problems and fuzzy vision can be signs of all sorts of conditions.

Too much booze, or feeling stressed or anxious could bring on these symptoms.

But it is often a red flag of a tumour – going to your optician or the GP is the next step if you've noticed a change.

Behaviour changes

It is common to feel many different moods and emotions throughout one day.

Generally stress or the task you are doing will be the cause, but if you have noticed a change in yourself or loved one that you can't explain, it could be a sign of cancer.

The NHS says "mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality" could be signs of brain cancer.

    Source: Read Full Article