At-Home Testing For Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease Is Now a Reality

Researchers have determined that the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) test is an efficient way to test large numbers of people for decline in cognitive abilities. The decline in certain brain skills are often early indications of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Now the SAGE test can be taken at home without supervision and can be completed in under 15 minutes.

This method of testing has been extensively tested. In May of 2012, Douglas W. Scharre, of Ohio State University Medical Center, published a brief article extolling the virtues and effectiveness of the SAGE test, saying,”Cognitive biomarkers with good sensitivity and specificity need to be validated. Memory, naming low frequency words, verbal fluency, 3-D construction, clock drawing, Trails B, and problem solving tasks are sensitive for identifying early deficits. A global cognitive screening tool like the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) incorporates all these tasks.” The test proved 79% (sensitivity) – 95% (specificity) effective at detection and 29% of the people screened were diagnosed. He righty expected further research to prove the validity of the test.

Further research has recently been published in the January 2014 issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, where researchers from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center confirmed the efficiency and feasibility of this diagnostic tool for screening large numbers of people. From 45 community events 1,047 participants were asked to take an easy pen-and-paper test that measures dementia or early loss of cognitive functions. Of these individuals over age 50, who were screened with SAGE, cognitive impairment was identified in 28%.

People can now take the test at home, and afterwards should share their results with their chosen physician. While the SAGE test does not specifically diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, it does identify decline in cognitive function, which may allow for earlier patient-physician dialog about the decline in cognitive function and its treatment. The subtle signs of cognitive disorders in the earliest stages can often be easy to miss in an office setting and are usually first spotted by family or those closest to the patient.

The test requires only a pen or pencil, may be administered in nearly any setting, and does not require staff time for administration or interpretation. Click HERE to get a free pen and paper version of the SAGE test courtesy of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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