You’ve most likely reached this page because you completed our six-question true/false quiz on early signs of Alzheimer’s.
HOW DID YOU DO?
The answer to all six questions is TRUE. Here’s what brain aging experts want you to know:
- FORGETFULNESS – One of the most common early signs of Alzheimer’s is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. SOURCE: Alzheimer’s Association
- HEARING LOSS – About 1 in 3 people in the U.S. ages 65 to 74 has hearing loss. A study found about two-thirds of adults ages 70 or older suffer from hearing impairment that may affect daily communication. Hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline; further research will determine the degree of the connection. One study reports that those with mild hearing loss had nearly twice the risk of developing dementia compared to people with normal hearing. Those with moderate loss had three times the risk, while those with severe loss had five times the risk. SOURCE: American Heart Association
- COMMUNICATION – If a loved one has trouble joining in conversations or following along with them, stops abruptly in the middle of a thought or struggles to think of words or the name of objects, it may be an early indicator that your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia. Some people who have difficulty with language or reasoning may have a condition known as mild cognitive impairment. SOURCE: AARP
- VISUALIZATION – Dementia can affect spatial visualization (seeing the world around you). Dropping or spilling things more often, or tripping over objects more frequently can be a sign of dementia. However, as you age, there are other conditions that may affect your vision, like cataracts. So it’s important to rule those out, especially if this is your main symptom. SOURCE: WebMD
- SOCIALIZATION – It’s natural for people to slow down as they age—perhaps they may not want to go to large gatherings if they can’t hear or see well, or may give up activities that have become physically challenging. However, changes in a person’s basic disposition or temperament aren’t normal and may be signs of dementia. For example, a person who was once social and outgoing may become withdrawn, or someone who was once cheerful may become stubborn, distrustful, angry, or sad. Depression also often accompanies Alzheimer’s disease, causing such symptoms as loss of interest in a favorite hobby or activity, a change in appetite, insomnia, or sleeping too much, lack of energy, and hopelessness. SOURCE: Harvard Medical School
- CONFUSION – In mild Alzheimer’s disease, a person may seem to be healthy but has more and more trouble making sense of the world around him or her. The realization that something is wrong often comes gradually to the person and his or her family. Problems can include: memory loss, poor judgment leading to bad decisions, loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, repeating questions. SOURCE: National Institute on Aging
ABOUT EARLY ALZHEIMER’S SELF TESTS:
Study finds self-administered cognition test accurately predicts early dementia sooner
SAGE test helps doctors begin treatment earlier to slow disease progression
By The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Many people experience forgetfulness as they get older, but it can be difficult to determine if memory issues are a normal part of aging or if they’re a sign of a more serious problem.
Now, a new study finds that a simple, self-administered test developed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center identifies the early, subtle signs of dementia sooner than standard testing. This earlier detection is critical to effective treatment, especially as new therapeutics are developed.
Dr. Douglas Scharre, director of the Division of Cognitive and Memory Disorders in the Department of Neurology at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and lead author of the study published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, said:
“New treatments are currently being developed in clinical trials and we know that the earlier cognitive impairment is detected, the more treatment choices a patient has and the better they work.”
The study followed more than 600 patients in Ohio State’s Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders over eight years and found that the SAGE test accurately identified patients with mild cognitive impairment who eventually progressed to a dementia diagnosis at least six months earlier than the most commonly used testing method.
And because it is self-administered, the test can be taken anywhere at the first signs of memory impairment. This creates a baseline score that can be monitored over time with repeated testing.
“Any time you or your family member notices a change in your brain function or personality you should take the SAGE test.
“If that patient takes the test every six months and their score drops two or three points over a year and a half, that is a significant difference, and their doctor can use that information to evaluate if there should be a diagnosis or to make decisions on treatments.”
Scharre has worked closely with BrainTest Inc SEZC, who developed a scientifically validated digital version of the SAGE test called BrainTest that can be taken anywhere on a tablet or touch screen computer.
This digital version will also be integrated with the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s electronic medical records system to better facilitate self-testing, storing and reviewing results for patients and their health care providers. If you’re worried about memory issues, you can access SAGE or BrainTest at wexnermedical.osu.edu/SAGE.