At home test proves beneficial in Alzheimer’s detection

SAGEA team of researchers of the Ohio State University has recently offered up an alternative to comprehensive cognitive testing with the Self-administered Gerocognitive Exam, now known as SAGE. The SAGE test was specifically designed to detect early signs of cognitive impairment, like those inherent to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as a tool in fighting the growing challenges related to an ageing population.
SAGE testing is administered at one’s home, through a simple questionnaire consisting of 12 prompts. Without the need for a medical professional’s oversight during the exam, and sans any medical equipment, the SAGE test can be completed in as little as 15 minutes for most. The exam’s questions range from asking about the current date and the individual’s full name, to drawing pictures of simple items or naming objects located in the next room.

If a certain number of questions are answered incorrectly, individuals are encouraged to meet with a medical professional for further, more comprehensive testing.
While SAGE may seem simple on its face, it has the ability to provide early detection, and subsequent diagnosis, of disease like Alzheimer’s and dementia for individuals around the world.

The Rising Cost of Healthcare

The challenges burdening health care systems across the globe are the result of two pressing factors: a growing patient population and a focus on treatment as opposed to prevention. As the number of individuals over the age of 85 rises steadily, health care professionals, the systems in which they work, and the family and social caregivers providing care outside the scope of medical intervention face undue pressure, both in terms of time and funding.

Taking the UK as an example, currently more than 800,000 individuals suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and the trend points steadily upward. By the year 2021, more than 1 million patients in Britain alone will need constant care to tackle the obstacles that come with cognitive impairment, like performing activities of daily living such as bathing or eating.

These numbers present a substantial concern for healthcare systems and the people who are trained to provide care to those with brain function issues. A representative from a team of medical solicitors called Patient Claim Line explains that the already suffering health system within the UK stands to become even more unstable as an increased number of patients seek treatment. An unspeakable number of individuals stand to lose a respectable quality of life and care if preventative measures, like the SAGE test, are put in place to promote early detection.

Looking Forward

Although the promise of SAGE is apparent, more work needs to be done to begin combatting the looming epidemic of dementia and Alzheimer’s. National systems like the NHS must focus efforts on improving the financial stability of their organization while also ensuring enough skilled medical professionals are available for a stark increase to its patient population. In addition, innovative tools like SAGE can be used to detect signs of cognitive impairment early on, without the need for costly office visits or silent suffering. SAGE offers a way to provide more timely diagnoses of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and ultimately, a better system of care for the patients who need it most.

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