COLUMBUS, Ohio. – Millions of Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, and doctors say early detection and treatment is crucial in slowing the spread of the disease. That is why a new screening tool could be essential.
The screening tool called “The Sage Test” was inspired by a doctor’s desire to help his patients by aiming to identify memory problems months earlier than the current test does.
Dr. Douglas Scharre, a Cognitive Neurologist at Ohio State’s Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders, started noticing some differences in his patients’ treatments.
“We were missing the boat, and we weren’t identifying people early enough,” Scharre said. “The main difference between this and other tests is that it’s self-administered.”
The test is a home treatment administered at the first sign of impairment to monitor changes over time. The sooner you are diagnosed, the quicker you can receive treatment.
The key to the screening tool is to slow down cognitive decline, which is why Scharre developed the sage test.
Scharre says the test does not diagnose Alzheimer’s, but it does help identify early symptoms.
A study published in The Journal Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy (Scharre is the lead author) followed more than 600 patients in over eight years.
“It seems to pick up on people who are eventually going to develop dementia at least six months sooner than the most typical test out there,” Scharre said.
The decision to make a diagnosis based on cognitive changes and family history is up to a doctor but Identifying a potential progression of dementia could allow for earlier treatment.
“My hope for this test is that more people will be identified, diagnosed, and treated appropriately,” Scharre said.
Researchers say that you should take a screening test any time you or a family member notices changes in the function of your brain or personality.