Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
Seniors Expected to Rush to New 15-Minute Test of
Cognitive Abilities, Dementia Risk
The easy-to-use test is available below and may be a
faster download on SeniorJournal.com - Also see
video on test
Jan. 14, 2014 – Seniors around the English speaking
world are probably pounding on their computers today trying to download
the new 15-minute test to evaluate their cognitive abilities. It was
released yesterday by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner
Medical Center after tests on older Americans. They declared it a simple
but “reliable tool” that can be used without medical supervision or
interpretation. It can be downloaded with link in this story below.
The memory disorder researchers visited 45
community events where they asked people to take this self-administered
test - the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE
test) - to screen for early
cognitive loss or dementia. Of the 1047 people who took the simple
pen-and-paper test, 28 percent were identified with cognitive
impairment, according to
Dr. Douglas Scharre, who developed the test with his
team at Ohio State.
The researchers confirmed the feasibility and
efficiency of the tool for community screening large numbers of people
in a report published in the January issue of
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.
“The test correlated very
well with more detailed cognitive testing,” Scharre said. “The
difference is, this approach simply requires a pen, paper and about 10
minutes of a patient’s time,” he said.
The SAGE test can also be taken at home by
patients, who can then share the results with their physicians to help
spot early symptoms of cognitive issues such as early dementia or
Alzheimer’s disease, said Scharre, who is director of the Division of
Cognitive Neurology and heads the Memory Disorders Research Center at
Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. Often physicians may not recognize
subtle cognitive deficits during routine office visits, he said.
“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
While the test does not
diagnose problems like Alzheimer’s, it does allow doctors to get a
baseline of cognitive function in their patients, so they can follow
them for these problems over time. “We can give them the test
periodically and, the moment we notice any changes in their cognitive
abilities, we can intervene much more rapidly,” Scharre said.
The SAGE test could also provide health care
providers and caregivers an earlier indication of life-changing events
that could lie ahead. Earlier research by Scharre found that four out of
five people (80 percent) with mild thinking and memory (cognitive)
issues will be detected by this test, and 95 percent of people without
issues will have normal SAGE scores.
In this study, researchers found that SAGE’s
self-administered feature, pen-and-paper format, and four equivalent
interchangeable forms allows it to be given in almost any setting,
doesn’t require any staff time to administer or to set up a computer,
and makes it practical to rapidly screen large numbers of individuals in
the community at the same time.
Study participants were ages 50 or older who had
been recruited from a wide variety of community locations and events,
including senior centers, health fairs, educational talks to lay public,
independent and assisted-living facilities, and free memory screens
through newspaper advertisement. The study excluded individuals who
indicated that they had taken SAGE previously.
Participants are tested on orientation (month +
date + year); language (verbal fluency + picture naming);
reasoning/computation (abstraction + calculation); visuospatial
(three-dimensional construction + clock drawing); executive (problem
solving) and memory abilities.
Participants were provided their score and written
information about SAGE, and were advised to show it to their physician
for interpretation and potential further screening or evaluation based
on their health history. All were told that this test represented their
baseline to be compared to future re-screening by their physician.
Missing six or more points on the 22-point SAGE test usually warrants
additional follow-up by the physician.
Scharre, who specializes
in treating Alzheimer’s disease, said treatments for Alzheimer’s and
dementia are more effective when started in the earliest stage of the
disease. Unfortunately, patients with Alzheimer’s disease often wait
three to four years after their symptoms first appear to seek treatment.
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 as well, Scharre said.
“Hopefully, this test
will help change those situations,” Scharre said. “We are finding better
treatments, and we know that patients do much better if they start the
treatments sooner than later.”
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Neuroscience Program features 170 researchers and clinicians
collaborating in neurology, neurosurgery, physical medicine and
rehabilitation, psychiatry and neuroscience research to create better
methods of prevention, detection and treatment for patients.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
… To find a doctor
or get a referral: 614-293-5123 or 800-293-5123
…To inquire about
participating in a clinical trial at Ohio State: 614-293-HERO (4376)
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