SAGE detects early signs of cognitive decline

Worried about your recent forgetfulness? Concerned about a loved one’s confusion? You might be interested in the new Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE). It’s a 10- to 15-minute written test to help screen for the earliest symptoms of dementia. Because early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is so important, SAGE promises to be a valuable new detection tool.

The test can be downloaded from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. Individuals then print out the test, complete it according to the instructions, and take it to their primary care physician for evaluation. Researchers say the test can detect subtle signs that wouldn’t be apparent to a physician observing a patient for just a few minutes.

A study showed SAGE results correlate well with results from detailed diagnostic tests conducted by experts.

The site cautions:

Remember that SAGE does not diagnose any specific condition. The results of SAGE will not tell you if you have Alzheimer’s disease, mini-strokes or any number of other disorders. But the results can help your doctor know if further evaluation is necessary.

Some 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and those numbers are expected to almost triple by 2050. An additional 3 percent to 22 percent of those over 60 years of age are thought to currently meet criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment, said Dr. Douglas Scharre, who developed the test with his team at Ohio State.

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