Simple Quiz Detects Alzheimer's Early

Friday, 20 Jun 2014 05:10 PM

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A group of Ohio doctors has developed a simple four-page quiz that can help reveal dementia early on, allowing patients to get their affairs and finances in order.
 
The test was developed over by a team led by Douglas W. Scharre, M.D., a neurologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Known as the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination, or SAGE, it can be completed in about 15 minutes by patients at home, or while in the waiting room at the doctor's office and is now used at nationally, The New York Times reports.

Dr. Scharre said physicians would screen older patients for possible memory and thinking problems during routine office visits.
 
Early detection of Alzheimer's is important because drugs used to treat its symptoms and slow its progression are most effective when given in the initial stages of the incurable condition.
 
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Catching symptoms in the earlier stages can help families plan for the necessary, and often costly, care that lies ahead, which adds up to roughly $57,000 on average, by some estimates.
 
Dr. James E. Galvin, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center who has used the SAGE test with patients, said early detection can also let patients have a say in how their care is structured, and get their finances and personal affairs in order.
 
Nearly five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and up to 22 percent more of those over age 60 have mild cognitive impairment.
 
The SAGE test is done using paper and pencil and includes questions on language, reasoning, problem-solving, and memory skills. Research found that about 80 percent of people with mild thinking and memory problems will be detected by the test, while 95 percent of people with no problems will have normal SAGE scores.

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