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Researchers design self-test for memory disorders
Date:3/31/2010

id Scharre, who advocates the use of routine screening for cognitive disorders in the primary care setting. Other diagnostic tests require the patient to use a computer, which can add heightened anxiety to some older adults who may be infrequent users of technology.

The SAGE self-assessment is a practical tool for a busy primary care office," added Scharre, who makes the tests available free of charge to healthcare personnel at www.sagetest.osu.edu. It only takes a paper, pen and a few minutes to take the test and because it's self-administered, it doesn't necessarily take time away from the appointment. "They can take the test in the waiting room while waiting for the doctor," said Scharre.

Missing six or more points on the 22-point SAGE test usually warrants additional follow-up by the physician. Abnormal results can also prompt an early search for reversible and treatable conditions that may be causing the patient's thinking and memory impairment. Many conditions besides Alzheimer's disease, such as strokes and some thyroid conditions, can also impact memory, according to Scharre.

Scharre said there are potential cost savings to using the tests in a primary care setting. He reasons that a person who fares poorly on the self-exam will likely be less compliant taking medications on time, taking them in the proper dosages or following other recommendations such as maintaining healthy diets.

"Abnormal test results can serve as an early warning to the patient's family," added Scharre. "The results can be a signal that caregivers may need to begin closer monitoring of the patient to ensure their safety and good health is not compromised and that they are protected from financial predators."

Results of the new test compare favorably with current standard cognitive assessments that are not self-administered. To validate the exam's findings and accuracy, Scharre and other researchers at Ohio State evaluated study participants
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Contact: David Crawford
Crawford.1@osu.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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