Test Detects Memory Disorders in Seniors

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 1 (UPI) — A 15-minute self-administered handwritten test can help screen for memory disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, U.S. researchers said.

Dr. Douglas Scharre, a neurologist at the Ohio State University Medical Center, developed the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination to detect people with mild thinking and memory impairments at an early stage.

“It’s a recurring problem,” Scharre said in a statement. “People don’t come in early enough for a diagnosis or families generally resist making the appointment because they don’t want confirmation of their worst fears. Whatever the reason, it’s unfortunate because the drugs we’re using now work better the earlier they are started.”

Scharre, who advises routine screening for cognitive disorders by primary care physicians, acknowledges physicians or their staff are often not reimbursed for their time to administer tests to detect cognitive disorders.

However, a person who does poorly on the self-assessment will most likely be less compliant taking medications or maintaining a healthy diet that may result in worsening health and higher costs, Scharre said.

The study, published in the journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, confirmed the test is a reliable tool for evaluating cognitive abilities.

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