New Home Test Identifies Early Signs of Alzheimer's

A new home-based, self-administered test can effectively and reliably identify and evaluate early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive impairment, as well as other cognitive disorders.

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE test), developed by researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medican Center, is comprised of 22 questions and takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

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Researchers gave the pen-and-paper test to 1047 people over 50 years old, evaluating “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.”

Those that missed 6 or more points on the SAGE test were told to follow up with their physicians. Of the 1047 participants, 28% were found to have signs of cognitive impairment.

Researchers stressed that the test is not intended to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, but instead to give a baseline of cognitive function to be used in follow-up.

"What we found was that this SAGE self-administered test correlated very well with detailed cognitive testing," they concluded.

"If we catch this cognitive change really early, then we can start potential treatments much earlier than without having this test."

–Michael Potts

Scharre DW, Change SI, Nagaraja HN, Schweller JY, Murden RA. Community Cognitive Screening Using the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE). The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2014;:. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.13060145