Self-administered Alzheimer's test found effective
LOS ANGELES -
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?" Caldwell said.
Now researchers at Ohio State University say a simple, self-administered test can help spot cognitive changes. The four page test, which was given to people 50 and older, measured language, reasoning, problem solving and memory.
"We are able to use it very easily in community settings," said Dr. Douglas Scharre, Director of Cogntiive Neurology At Ohio State University.
Dr. Scharre says the test can be taken at home, the senior center or the doctor's office and it takes less than 15 minutes. Previous research shows it can detect 80 percent of people with mild thinking and memory issues. Researchers hope the test will help catch cognitive changes earlier so doctors can start treatment right away.
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," Dr. Scharre said.
Emily Caldwell says the test would have made a big difference with her mom. "It definitely would have helped us confirm our suspicions and maybe try to be more aggressive about getting her evaluated," she said.
Researchers say people who take the test should talk to their doctor before interpreting results.
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