Two new cognitive screening assessment tools appear to be useful additions to the arsenal of Alzheimer testing.
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) was used to screen 1,047 persons aged 50 years and older at community events. The test, which takes less than 15 minutes to complete and is simple enough for people to perform at home, assesses participants on orientation, language, reasoning/computation, visuospatial ability, executive ability and memory.
Douglas W. Scharre, MD, and his SAGE co-developers reported in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences that the test identified cognitive impairment in 28% of the individuals tested.
Scharre pointed out in a separate statement that although SAGE cannot be used to diagnose Alzheimer disease (AD), it does provide clinicians with a baseline of cognitive function for patients, which can result in more rapid intervention if changes are noted.
In another study, investigators predicted with 90% accuracy which persons with mild cognitive impairment would receive a clinical diagnosis of AD within two years, and which persons would not develop the disease.
Brain neuroimaging and neuropsychological measures showed the strongest neuroimaging predictors of progression to dementia to be baseline cortical thickness in the right anterior cingulate and middle frontal gyri of the brain. In terms of cognitive predictors, deficits in both free recall and recognition episodic memory tasks were highly suggestive of progression to dementia.
- Scharre DW et al. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014; doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.13060145.
- Peters F et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;38(2):307-318.