Study: Self-Administered Test Helps Spot Early Alzheimer's


UPDATED: Tuesday January 14, 2014 1:27 PM

Courtesy: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

It's estimated some 5,000,000 Americans are battling Alzheimer's Disease, but by 2050, those numbers are expected to triple.

Doctors say if it's caught in the early stages, they have a better chance of treating the disease. 

The problem?  Most patients don't see a doctor until it's too late.  However, there is now a new option. 

Researchers have developed a self-administered test that can help doctors spot early symptoms of cognitive issues in their patients, like Alzheimer's disease. Best of all, researchers say the test is cheap, self-administered, and can be taken virtually anywhere.

"What we found was that this self-administered test correlated very well with more detailed cognitive testing," said Douglas Scharre, MD, who developed the test with his team at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, "The difference is, this approach simply requires a pen, paper and about 10 minutes of a patient's time," he said.

While the test cannot definitely diagnose problems like Alzheimer's disease, it does allow doctors to screen for any cognitive deficits and to obtain baseline cognitive functioning that could be monitored 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," said Scharre.

Doctors say early intervention is the key to good treatment outcomes. Unfortunately patients with Alzheimer's disease, for example, often wait 3-4 years after their symptoms first appear to seek treatment. "Hopefully, this test will help change those situations," said Scharre.

To download the SAGE test click here - sagetest.osu.edu