Not my favorite subject! IT’S NOT!
But then, you know that, if you know anything about me. Even so, am permanently primed to respond to anything coming down the pike relevant to Alzheimer’s Disease. Today’s Columbus Dispatch carried this front page story from OSU describing this free online test for early dementia. Just passing it on. Further down, they outline an example of the kind of posers for us to take part in to show that it’s not painful. Kinda fun. But then my wheels are still turning Okay, just not as fast or convenient as they used to. However, I could not make it on the lecture circuit as recall of names and issues takes me too long to bring forward.
And I might add, this makes my blogging effort harder all the time. I still do have that wonderful, inner part of me that can turn on and ‘flow’ seemingly at will from time to time when I’m all wound up and just have to express something. . . . guardian angel?. . . . a muse? . . . . dunno. . . whatever it is, it’s working; I’m grateful. Jan
Free online test screens for early dementia
By Misti Crane THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The earliest signs of dementia can be subtle and inconsistent. They can escape a doctor’s notice and seem minor enough that patients or their families might not consider them worth mentioning.
The trouble with that is that early recognition of dementia is best. Treatments are more effective early. And knowing early in the disease that decline is inevitable allows an individual to make important plans, including financial and medical ones. A free, quick, self-administered test is good at screening the general population for dementia (and reassuring the worried well), according to a study published today in the
Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.
Dr. Douglas Scharre, an Alzheimer’s expert at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, developed the 12-question test, which comes in four varieties and is called SAGE, for Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination.
Scharre uses it to monitor dementia in patients, as do some of his colleagues in neurology and primary care, where SAGE is well-suited to identify early problems.
This study aimed to figure out how valuable it is when used in the community setting, such as at a health fair. Researchers went to 45 events and recruited 1,047 people, all older than 50 and with no known dementia. Test results showed cognitive trouble in 28 percent of the group, most of whom were older than 60.
“The basic problem in dementia care is that it’s identified too late,” Scharre said. “They usually come (to specialists) three to four years after they begin to have symptoms.”
There are plenty of good tests, but they aren’t self-administered, which means they take more time and resources, Scharre said.
SAGE is a first-stop screening tool and does not stand in for a proper diagnosis, he said. It assesses a variety of skills, including reasoning, memory and problem-solving.
Missing six or more points out of 22 (a doctor or someone else familiar with scoring has to look over the test) generally means a follow-up evaluation is warranted.
Dr. Ann R. Koval, an internal-medicine specialist with Central Ohio Primary Care in Westerville, said SAGE has led her to refer some patients to specialists and helped her assure others that they are fine.
“The earliest changes are subtle, and they aren’t questions that we may typically ask a patient,” Koval said.
“We’ll ask, ‘Do you notice memory problems or do you notice that you’re forgetting names or having difficulty with directions?’ A lot of the times, the patients will say ‘No,’ and a family member sitting next to them may be trying to subtly nod yes.”
John Sanders, who has mild dementia and regularly takes the SAGE test, said it has been useful in tracking his disease.
“It’s no big bother,” said Sanders, who is 80 and lives in Dublin. “I haven’t minded the tests at all. I do it as a routine sort of a thing and go on my merry way.”
To download a SAGE test, go to http://www.medicalcenter.osu.edu/ patientcare/healthcare_services/alzheimers/sage-test .