WJTV News Channel 12 - At-home test helping spot signs Alzheimer’s

At-home test helping spot signs Alzheimer’s

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OHIO - With more and more people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, doctors say it's critical to identify problems with memory as soon as possible.

Now, a simple test could help spot the early signs of the disease.

Emily Caldwell's mother Bonnie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease 8 years ago but the family suspected something wasn't right two years before that.

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

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.  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,” said Dr. Douglas Scharre, Dir. of Cognitive Neurology at Ohio State University.  “They come into their doctor’s office perhaps 3 or 4 years after people have noticed specific cognitive issues.”

Dr. Scharre says the test can be taken anywhere and it takes less than 15 minutes.  Previous research shows it can detect 80-percent of people with mild thinking and memory issues.  

Emily 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,” said Caldwell.

Researchers say people who take the test should talk to their doctor before interpreting results.

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