Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study: At-home test can spot early Alzheimer's

Date:
January 13, 2014
Source:
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have developed an at-home test that can help doctors spot early symptoms of cognitive issues in their patients, like Alzheimer's disease. The test is cheap, self-administered, and a new study shows, can be just as effective as other costlier and more time-consuming tests. It's called the self-administered gerocognitive examination test.

The first at-home test to spot early signs of conditions like Alzheimer's disease has been developed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination test, has been shown to be effective in spotting the early signs of cognitive decline, allowing patients and doctors to address conditions like Alzheimer's disease much earlier.
Credit: Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE test), which takes less than 15 minutes to complete, is a reliable tool for evaluating cognitive abilities. Findings by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center confirming the feasibility and efficiency of the tool for community screening large numbers of people are published in the January issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

Memory disorders researchers visited 45 community events where they asked people to take a simple, self-administered 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, said Dr. Douglas Scharre, who developed the test with his team at Ohio State.

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 this test."

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Douglas W. Scharre, Shu Ing Chang, Haikady N. Nagaraja, Jennifer Yager-Schweller, Robert A. Murden. Community Cognitive Screening Using the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE). Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 2014; DOI: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.13060145

Cite This Page:

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Study: At-home test can spot early Alzheimer's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100610.htm>.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. (2014, January 13). Study: At-home test can spot early Alzheimer's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100610.htm
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Study: At-home test can spot early Alzheimer's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100610.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins