Who Should Consider Taking The Sage Test
According to Scharre, anyone who is experiencing memory, language, problem-solving, or thinking problems should consider taking SAGE.
This may be especially important if you are noticing very mild symptoms, since SAGE is designed to pick up early deficits and allow your healthcare providers to diagnose and manage any potential conditions at an early stage,” he explains.
Friends or family members may want to encourage a loved to take the test if they notice issues related to memory or thinking.
You may also wish to take a SAGE to establish a baseline cognitive assessment to use for comparison in the future if you have a family history of dementia or thinking problems.
Typically, we would suggest repeating the test every six months unless significant cognitive changes are occurring,” advises Scharre.
You can download the test for free at the Wexner Medical Center website.
Theres also a digital version made for tablets produced by a company called BrainTest. It consists of identical test questions. This version is scored by a panel and results are sent to you so can take them to your primary care physician for further discussion. You can download the electronic version at BrainTest.com.
Mental Ability Tests To Diagnose Dementia
People with symptoms of dementia are given tests to check their mental abilities, such as memory or thinking.
These tests are known as cognitive assessments, and may be done initially by a GP.
There are several different tests. A common one used;by GPs is;the General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition .
Although;these tests cannot diagnose dementia,;they may show there are memory difficulties that need further investigation.
Most;tests involve a series of pen-and-paper tests and questions, each of which carries a score.
These tests assess a number of different mental abilities, including:
- short- and long-term memory
- language and communication skills
- awareness of time and place
It’s important to remember that test scores may be influenced by a person’s level of education.
For example, someone who cannot read or write very well may have a lower score, but they may not have dementia.
Similarly, someone with a higher level of education may achieve a higher score, but still have dementia.
Studies Find Sage Reliable
Researchers from;Wexner;Medical Center at Ohio State University recently reported that over 1,000 people;took the test over a five year period.
In that time, the test detected early signs of cognitive issues in 30% of the participants. Dr. Douglas;Scharre;reaffirmed his confidence in the test;saying, What we found was that this SAGE, self-administered test correlated very well with the very detailed cognitive testing.
When the test is repeated over time, doctors can monitor their patients and detect slight changes in cognitive ability. Scharre went on to say, If we see this change, we can catch it really early, and we can start treatments much earlier than we did without a test.
Because early detection is crucial to managing and treating Alzheimers, SAGE could be an essential tool in slowing the progression of the disease.
Do you think;SAGE is a valuable tool in the early diagnosis of Alzheimers?;Wed like to hear;your thoughts in the comments below.
You May Like: Difference Between Dementia And Senility
Can Dementia Be Diagnosed During A Single Visit
So can dementia be diagnosed during a single visit? As you can see from above, it depends on how much information is easily available at that visit. It also depends on the symptoms and circumstances of the older adult being evaluated.
Memory clinics are more likely to provide a diagnosis during the visit, or shortly afterwards. Thats because they usually request a lot of relevant medical information ahead of time, send the patient for tests if needed, and interview the patient and informers extensively during the visit.
But in the primary care setting, and in my own geriatric consultations, I find that clinicians need more;than one visit to diagnose dementia or probable dementia. Thats because we usually need to order tests, request past medical records for review, and gather more information from the people who know the senior being evaluated. Its a bit like a detectives investigation!
Preparing For A Doctor’s Visit
Read Also: Difference Between Senility And Dementia
Some Of The Commonly Used Cognitive Tests Include:
Mini-Mental Status Examination
This test is usually conducted by your doctor or specialist in their office and takes around 5 minutes to complete. The MMSE is the most common test for the screening of dementia. It assesses skills such as reading, writing, orientation and short-term memory.
Alzheimers Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive
This 11-part test is more thorough than the MMSE and can be used for people with mild symptoms.
It is considered the best brief examination for memory and language skills.
It takes around 30 minutes and is usually conducted by a specialist in their office, or you may be referred to a psychologist for the test.
This involves a number of very sensitive tests administered by a neuropsychologist .
A typical testing session will take at least 2 hours and may be conducted over more than one visit.
A variety of tests will be used and may include tests of memory such as recall of a paragraph, tests of the ability to copy drawings or figures and tests of reasoning and comprehension.
Standard X-rays may be taken and those who smoke will commonly require a chest X-ray to rule out lung cancer, which may be causing a secondary brain tumour. \
Brain imaging techniques
Various brain-imaging techniques are sometimes used to show brain changes and to rule out other conditions such as tumour, infarcts and hydrocephalus ; these include:
More Deaths From Alzheimers Disease And Other Dementias In 2020 Report Says
A year ago, Marc and Kathy Cochran were looking forward to a summer trip to Greece. Kathy, 68, had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers disease in 2012, but she was functioning well and enjoying herself, which her husband of 48;years attributed to regular exercise and an active and varied social life.
That crashed to a halt when the novel coronavirus hit. The couple stopped going to restaurants, visiting friends or seeing their adult children. They even had to stop walking their dogs because the gregarious Kathy liked to run up and hug her neighbors and did not understand why that had become unsafe.
The changes put her into a tailspin. It was just like the bottom dropped out, Marc said. I couldnt get her to be calm. In the ensuing months, her cognitive function declined so precipitously that she was moved to a memory-care facility, and she died in September.
Her husband blames the pandemic. I cant tell you that she wouldnt have, but I could see a definite demarcation point from the time we shut down to the time she had to go into memory care, he said. One of the things that made her happy was seeing people, smiling at them, laughing with them, hugging them, and when she couldnt do that she would become agitated.
About 40;percent of covid-19 deaths in the United States have been residents or staffers of long-term-care facilities, said the report, which is the organizations annual Facts and Figures assessment.
Current Practice In Diagnosing Dementia
The remainder of this information will provide an overview of the diagnosis process and a guide to what happens after diagnosis.;
It is important to remember that there is no definitive test for diagnosing Alzheimers disease or any of the other common causes of dementia. Findings from a variety of sources and tests must be pooled before a diagnosis can be made, and the process can be complex and time consuming. Even then, uncertainty may still remain, and the diagnosis is often conveyed as possible or probable. Despite this uncertainty, a diagnosis is accurate around 90% of the time.;
People with significant memory loss without other symptoms of dementia, such as behaviour or personality changes, may be classified as having a Mild Cognitive Impairment . MCI is a relatively new concept and more research is needed to understand the relation between MCI and later development of dementia. However, MCI does not necessarily lead to dementia and regular monitoring of memory and thinking skills is recommended in individuals with this diagnosis.;;
Predictors Of Dementia Or Ad
In a series of logistic models that included age and one additional variable , older age was consistently associated with an increased risk of dementia . In these trivariate models, more years of education were associated with a lower risk of dementia . There was no significant difference in dementia risk between males and females . African Americans were at greater risk for dementia . As expected, the presence of one or two APOE 4 alleles was significantly associated with an increased risk of dementia.
As shown in table , in the multivariate models, dementia risk increased with older age, fewer years of education and the presence of at least one APOE 4 allele. In the presence of these variables, gender and race were not significantly associated with risk of dementia.
You May Like: Does Alzheimer’s Run In Families
Be A Lifelong Learner
Seniors frequently do not get enough brain stimulation. In battling Alzheimers, it can be very helpful to take on new tasks, such as crossword puzzles or other hobbies. Again, according to Harvard Health Publication, the brain should be treated like a muscle that will improve with use and exercise.
Almost 20 percent of enrolled college students are over the age of 35. Some are working toward a degree, and many are simply taking classes that are of interest or that will broaden their horizon, such as learning a new language, photography, or how to play an instrument.
A crucial additional benefit to going back to school as a senior is that it can prevent the isolation from which many seniors suffer which can lead to depression. Those college tests might be the best memory tests of all!
Future Directions In Diagnosis Research
Considerable research effort is being put into the development of better tools for accurate and early diagnosis. Research continues to provide new insights that in the future may promote early detection and improved diagnosis of dementia, including:;
- Better dementia assessment tests that are suitable for people from diverse educational, social, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
- New computerised cognitive assessment tests which can improve the delivery of the test and simplify responses.
- Improved screening tools to allow dementia to be more effectively identified and diagnosed by GPs.
- The development of blood and spinal fluid tests to measure Alzheimers related protein levels and determine the risk of Alzheimers disease.
- The use of sophisticated brain imaging techniques and newly developed dyes to directly view abnormal Alzheimers protein deposits in the brain, yielding specific tests for Alzheimers disease.;
Also Check: Dementia Ribbon Color
A Need For Cheap Accurate Tests
The accessibility of current Alzheimers tests is one of the issues that is making diagnosis and research difficult, notes Dr. Wint.
Currently, the most accurate early-stage diagnostic tests for Alzheimers are a spinal tap or an amyloid PET scan. However, these tests are expensive, uncomfortable and not available everywhere.
The amyloid PET scan can cost $5,000, and that is just to figure out who should be studied in any Alzheimers study for early-stage diagnosis, he says.
Accurate, accessible and inexpensive testing could inform more patients about their Alzheimers disease status. And diagnosing Alzheimers in its early stages is critical to finding treatments that can delay or prevent future memory loss.
Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
Also Check: Meredith Grey Alzheimer\’s Trial
When Should I Go To My Gp To Have My Memory Tested
You should visit your GP if problems with your memory have started to have an impact on your life. This might mean that you are struggling to do your job or having difficulty with everyday living; or you are regularly forgetting where you are supposed to be, or are becoming increasingly muddled with things that used to be easy for you to do.
If you witness these symptoms in someone else you know, you could encourage them to visit their GP.
Who Can Diagnose Dementia
Visiting a primary care doctor is often the first step for people who are experiencing changes in thinking, movement, or behavior. However, neurologists doctors who specialize in disorders of the brain and nervous system are often consulted to diagnose dementia. Geriatric psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and geriatricians may also be able to diagnose dementia. Your doctor can help you find a specialist.
If a specialist cannot be found in your community, contact the nearest medical school neurology department for a referral. A medical school hospital also may have a dementia clinic that provides expert evaluation. You can also visit the Alzheimers Disease Research Centers directory to see if there is an NIA-funded center near you. These centers can help with obtaining a diagnosis and medical management of conditions.
Also Check: Dementia Paranoia Accusations
Types Of Tests For Dementia
The first type of tests are called mental status scales.
These are short bedside tests administered by the doctor that assess memory and other cognitive domains.
They provide a score, which is used to distinguish people with normal vs. impaired cognition and even screen for mild cognitive impairment .
Examples of the most widely used include the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and the Mini-Mental State Examination .
These are screening tests, meaning they are not diagnostic of any particular dementia or diagnosis, but when abnormal definitely can hint that cognition is impaired.
Moreover, these tests can be repeated over time to track the progression of the disease as well.
These tests assess memory, language, executive function, visuospatial skills, and attention/concentration.
The MMSE is scored on a 30 point scale. Specific items include orientation , memory , attention/concentration , language , and visuospatial function . A score of <23 is abnormal and indicates cognitive impairment.
Note: you can find only MMSE test here.
The MOCA is also scored on a 30 point scale.
It assesses delayed word recall/memory , visuospatial function , language , attention/concentration , and orientation . A score of <25 is abnormal and indicates significant cognitive impairment.
Note: you can also access MOCA test online.
Another similar test is the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination which is scored similarly.
Alternative shorter tests
Why Would Anyone Want An Early Alzheimers Diagnosis
The SAGE test is useful because it helps you understand if your concerns are something to be worried about.
If the results seem to indicate that there could be a problem, you might think theres no point in talking with the doctor because theres no cure for dementia.
The most important is that a treatable condition could be the cause of cognitive impairment. Finding out sooner means getting treatment ASAP to eliminate the cognitive symptoms.
If the cognitive impairment is caused by Alzheimers or dementia, a major benefit is that starting treatment early is far more effective in managing symptoms and delaying progression of the disease.
Also Check: Does Meredith Grey Have Alzheimer’s
Simple Tests You Can Do At Home
Sometimes, it is hard to decide whether someone is having memory problems which are unusual. Many people with dementia become good at hiding their memory confusion. Luckily, there are some simple tests you can give to test a person’s mental functioning. What I like about these sorts of tests is that you might be able to give some of these to a person without letting them know they are being tested .
Key Features Of Dementia
A person having dementia means that all five of the following statements are true:
- A person is having difficulty with one or more types of mental function. Although its common for memory to be affected, other parts of thinking function can be impaired.;The 2013 DSM-5 manual;lists these six types of cognitive function to consider: learning and memory, language, executive function, complex attention, perceptual-motor function, social cognition.
- The difficulties are a decline from the persons prior level of ability. These cant be lifelong problems with reading or math or even social graces. These problems should represent a change, compared to;the persons usual abilities as an adult.
- The problems are bad enough to impair daily life function. Its not enough for a person to have an abnormal result on an office-based cognitive;test. ;The problems also have to be substantial enough to affect how the person manages usual life, such as work and family responsibilities.
- The problems are not due to a reversible condition, such as delirium, or another reversible illness. Common conditions that can cause or worsen dementia-like symptoms include hypothyroidism, depression, and medication side-effects.
- The problems arent better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as depression or schizophrenia.
Recommended Reading: Did Margaret Thatcher Have Dementia