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Self-test for early signs of cognitive impairment

The Ohio State University (OSU) announced on Jan. 13, 2013 the availability of a self-administered test to determine if a person is at risk for impaired cognitive functions. The test is called SAGE, which stands for Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination.

Preserving cognitive functions enhances lives of aging
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

OSU has released a report entitled SAGE Test Useful to Screen for Memory Disorders in Community Settings, Ohio State Study Shows. The report is being published in the January issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

There are four forms of this test, with each test form designed to provide the same results. The test was developed by a team of doctors from the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University. The leader of the team is Dr. Douglas Scharre. Scharre is director of the Division of Cognitive Neurology and leads the Memory Disorders Research Center.

The test is designed to determine if an individual is showing early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The test has 12 questions, and can be printed out and completed in less than 15 minutes. Of the 1,047 individuals that took versions of SAGE, 28% were identified as being at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other significant cognitive disorders.

The test identifies subtle cognitive impairments that may not be obvious during routine physician visits or the daily interactions with family members. The test results have proven to significantly correlate with other clinical tests for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The test is offered in English (US and NZ), Spanish and Italian.

You can download the test that is provided by Scharre and OSU’s Wexner Medical Center to do your own self determination of your cognitive functions. This test provides data for review by a physician, if necessary.

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific cognitive disease that currently does not have a cure. The patient care information provided by the Wexner Medical Center will help you understand the disease and treatment options to slow the progress of the disease.

The Memory Disorders Clinic at OSU is doing research on developing cures for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory disorders. Patients must be referred to the clinic by a physician, which can either be a primary care physician or a specialist in cognitive disorders.

Scharre says that early treatment is very important. Patients often wait four to five years from the time they become concerned until the seek treatment. This is valuable time lost in diagnosing the level of impairment and developing a treatment plan.

“Some five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and those numbers are expected to almost triple by 2050. An additional 3 to 22 percent of those over 60 years of age are thought to currently meet criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment as well."

“What we found was that this SAGE self-administered test correlated very well with detailed cognitive testing,” Scharre said. “If we catch this cognitive change really early, then we can start potential treatments much earlier than without having this test.”

If you take one of the forms of SAGE and are concerned with the results, schedule an appointment with your primary health care provider. You can take your test results to the physician and together you can determine if you need to see a cognitive specialist. There are additional information sources on the effects of diet in the attached video and the articles suggested by the author.

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