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Health: Simple Test Could Spot Signs Of Mental Decline; Take The Test Now

stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–A simple at home test that can identify if you’re at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on how it works.

Emily Caldwell’s mother Bonnie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, but the family suspected something wasn’t right two years before that.

“She was always missing a beat. We would be in conversation and she would say, what are you talking about?” said Emily.

Now researchers at Ohio State University say a simple test can help spot possible mental decline.  It measures language, reasoning, problem solving and memory.

Researchers hope the test will help catch cognitive changes earlier, when treatment is more effective, which isn’t happening now.

“Patients just come in too late to be identified.  They come into their doctors office perhaps 3 or 4 years after people have noticed specific cognitive issues,” said Dr. Douglas Scharre, who developed the test.

He says the test can be taken at home, in a senior center or the doctor’s office.  It takes less than 15 minutes.

Some of the questions include identify pictures of domino’s and a pretzel, name 12 fruits or vegetables even matching numbers and letters.

Previous research shows it can detect 80 percent of people with mild thinking and memory issues.

Emily feels the test would have made a big difference with her mom.

“I think it would have helped us confirm our suspicions and maybe try to be more aggressive about getting her evaluated,” said Emily.

Researchers caution the study does not diagnose a person with Alzheimer’s disease.  It just identifies potential risk.  If it’s difficult or confusing you should talk to a doctor.  That’s who is supposed to interpret the results.

To take the SAGE Cognitive Test, visit: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/alzheimers/sage-test/Pages/index.aspx