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A simple test at home may spot early Alzheimer's

New York, Jan 13 : In a ray of hope for nearly 3.2 million Alzheimer's patients in India, a simple and cheap test at home may detect early symptoms of cognitive issues, including Alzheimer's disease.


Researchers have developed an at-home test that can help doctors spot early cognitive loss or dementia in their patients, including Alzheimer's.

Above all, the test is cheap and self-administered.

Called the self-administered gero-cognitive examination (SAGE test), which takes less than 15 minutes to complete, is a reliable tool for evaluating cognitive abilities, said researchers at the Ohio State University.

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 1,047 people who took the simple pen-and-paper test, 28 percent were identified with cognitive impairment," said 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 the research published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

The SAGE's self-administered feature - pen-and-paper format - and four equivalent interchangeable forms allows it to be given in almost any setting and does not require any staff time to administer or to set up a computer.

Participants are tested on parameters like orientation, language, reasoning/computation, visuospatial and memory abilities.

"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," he added.

The test does allow doctors to get a baseline of cognitive function in their patients, so they can follow them for these problems over time.

Alzheimer's disease and stroke are the two most common causes of dementia in India.

--IANS (Posted on 13-01-2014)

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