The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) is a handwritten self-test developed by Dr. Douglas Scharre, a neurologist at The Ohio State University Medical Center, to help speed up the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of memory disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The test can help healthcare providers and caregivers identify individuals with mild thinking and memory impairment at the early stage. It consists of a 22-point evaluation that can be completed in less than 15 minutes. Missing six or more points in the test usually warrants additional follow-up by the physician.
In a statement at OSU Research News, Dr. Scharre, who specializes in treating Alzheimer’s disease, emphasized the importance of early detection of Alzheimer’s and dementia because the treatments are most effective when introduced at the earliest stage of the disease. Patients are typically not diagnosed until three to four years after the first symptoms appear. Dr. Scharre has made the test available free of charge to healthcare personnel and can be downloaded from www.sagetest.osu.edu.
Dementia is a disorder involving loss of mental skills that affect a patient’s daily life by causing problems with memory as well as how one thinks or plans and gets worse over time. It is caused by damage or changes to the brain including strokes, tumors or head injuries.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and is also sometimes referred to as presenile dementia. It is a progressive condition that causes degenerative changes in the brain leading to patches or plaques and entanglement of nerve fibers. These changes in the brain tissue result to memory loss and behavioral changes.