Test your memory for Alzheimer's

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by KING 5 Healthlink

KING5.com

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Where are your keys? How do you get to the store?  More than five million Americans with Alzheimer's struggle with questions like those daily. It's critical to catch the disease early.  There's a new way to test your memory and help doctors get you started on the right treatment.

Like mother, like daughter. Geneva Marcum and her daughter Tracey Manz share an incredible bond.

"My mom's the brightest woman I've ever, ever met, bar none," said Tracey.

"She's the best thing," said Geneva. "We're the bestest of friends. We've always been. She's always there for me."

She's going need her daughter even more now that Geneva has Alzheimer's.

"You start out, you find yourself lost and you have to ask for help and that's hard," said Geneva.

Geneva's mother and three brothers have all dealt with Alzheimer's. They've all had physical exams, cognitive tests, brain scans and blood tests.

"Patients don't come to their doctor to complain, I got memory loss that they might with a sore thumb. So they put it off, they think they don't have a problem. So they don't tell the doctor and the doctor has no clue," said Dr. Douglas Scharre, Ohio State University.

Dr. Scharre developed a simple, free test. It asks patients to ID pictures, draw, and test their memory.

Struggling with the visual and spatial skills on the test could mean dementia, while issues with planning and problem solving often point to medication interactions. Doctors can interpret the results in less than a minute.

"You can just look at it and clearly see that it's clearly wrong or clearly right and you'll get a gestalt that they're not really doing well," said Dr. Scharre.

Geneva got 13 of the questions wrong. Missing just six is a red flag.

"I could have done a lot better than that. I know that," said Geneva.

Dr. Scharre says Geneva has trouble with calculations, word finding, problem solving and memory, but she still remembers who to call for help.

"I don't ever forget my daughter's name," said Geneva.

CLICK HERE to download the Sage Test online. It's free, but should be administered by a doctor who can interpret the results correctly.

Doctor Scharre says this test not only detects memory problems early, it can also calm the fears of people who think they're losing their memory.  And it's much cheaper than an MRI or other tests.

For more information:

Ohio State University - Alzheimer's Test

 

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