Self-administered test accurately predicts dementia premature earlier, study finds

Researchers say a new test could help detect people at risk of developing dementia at least six months earlier than available tests. Photo by stevepb / Pixabay

December 6 (UPI) – Researchers at Ohio State University said Monday they have developed a simple, self-administered test designed to identify people with symptoms of dementia.

The assessment, called the self-administered gerocognitive exam, or SAGE, is intended to detect early and subtle signs of the disease earlier than standard tests, the researchers said in an article published by the journal Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy. .

In an evaluation of the test on 600 patients at the Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders in Ohio, SAGE accurately identified six months earlier than current methods people with mild cognitive impairment who eventually progressed to a diagnosis of dementia, according to the data.

Earlier detection is essential for effective management of age-related loss of cognitive function, especially as new treatments are developed, the researchers say.

The test “is designed to identify those who have normal thinking, have mild cognitive impairment, or more severe cognitive problems compatible with dementia conditions,” study co-author Dr Douglas Scharre told the UPI in an email.

“It can be repeated over time and provide information that indicates an individual’s cognitive abilities are decreasing or improving,” said Scharre, director of the cognitive neurology division at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

SAGE is a four-page paper-and-pen self-administered cognitive assessment with questions that test language, memory, drawing skills and other facets of cognitive function, he said. It takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.

An online version of the test developed in collaboration with Columbus-based BrainTest Inc. can be used anywhere with a tablet or touchscreen computer, according to Scharre and colleagues.

The online version will be integrated with the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s electronic medical records system to better facilitate self-testing, storage and review of results for patients and their health care providers, said. they declared.

In the United States, approximately 6 million people suffer from dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common form, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Accurate and early diagnosis of dementia is difficult using available methods, including cognitive function tests and brain imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography, according to the association.

New approaches, such as blood tests to identify people with high levels of a protein called beta-amyloid, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, may facilitate this process.

However, it’s still essential to spot signs of the disease earlier, Scharre said.

SAGE “does not diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or any specific cognitive disorder [but] gives doctors a solid assessment of your cognitive abilities, ”he said.

This is especially important in light of potential new treatments to prevent and treat looming dementia, he added.

In the study, SAGE identified people with mild cognitive impairment and those with severe cognitive problems at least six months earlier than the most commonly used assessment, the Mini-Mental State Exam, according to the data.

In the mini mental state exam, doctors ask patients a series of questions designed to test a range of daily mental skills, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The maximum score on the test is 30 points, and a score of 20 to 24 suggests mild dementia, while 13 to 20 indicates moderate dementia and less than 12 is a sign of severe dementia.

“Effective screening using a tool like SAGE leads to early identification of mild cognitive impairment, which allows doctors to have more potential treatment options and to be able to treat earlier,” said Scharre at UPI.

Comments are closed.