An at home test may be able to detect various early signs of cognitive decline, including most especially, Alzheimer’s, while another study also found that the brains of children with autism experience delays in their sights and sounds.
The Alzheimer’s test involves a 12-question, 15-minute pen and paper questionnaire, which can simply be taken at home. The study, which is called Sage – Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination Test – was developed at Ohio State University.
Developer Douglas Scharre gave the test to 1,047 people over the age of 50 in various community settings. In the results, 28 percent of the patients had signs of cognitive decline they were not aware of.
The study has four versions and assesses orientation, verbal and language fluency, computation and reasoning, visuospatial skills and memory and problem solving.
Anyone who is short of six points out of the required 22 are expected to do a follow up test.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association of America, there are 5 million people in the U.S. over the age of 65. While north of the border, Alzheimer’s Toronto predicts one in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s.
No significant process has been made on finding an Alzheimer’s cure, however, there are available treatments if the disease is caught early, thus the importance of a study such as SAGE.
This is not to be confused with various other free accessible on-line tests. The Alzheimer’s Association found 16 of these, all of which had poor scores in validity, reliability and ethical factors.
Julie Robillard, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Core for Neuroethics in B.C., Canada said that 80 percent of internet users seek health information and diagnoses. She described what she found online as “distressing and potentially harmful.”
However, SAGE was not included in Robillard’s study and though it is found on-line, the test is done by pen and paper and can be taken to a doctor if you are concerned.
Meanwhile, a Jan. 14 publication, Journal of Neuroscience, revealed that autistic children experience delays when their brains attempt to process information received by their ears and eyes simultaneously.
Study author Mark Wallace, director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute in Nashville, Tenn. compared what they were sensing as watching a “badly dubbed foreign film.”
Primary signs of autism include problems with communication, sensory processing and social interactions. It is estimated there are one in 88 children in both America and Canada who have autism. This is crucial to understand because autism is known to be on the rise across Canada and the U.S.
In the study, 32 children with an autism disorder were compared to 32 normally developing children.
Researchers had them sit in front of computer monitors in homes that were sound proofed and had minimal lighting The children would then experience various sights and sounds. The children were later asked to tell researchers when the sounds and sights happened simultaneously and when they came at different times.
According to Wallace, the normal response for the brain to identity sight and sounds together is about a quarter of a second. This takes twice as long for kids with autism, thus sights and sounds in the brain cannot be paired.
Pediatrician Patricia Manning-Courtney, who treats autistic children in Cincinnati, Ohio tells Web MD that one group who profoundly benefits from this study are parents, as they can now better understand their children.
These new findings for both autism and Alzheimer’s will hopefully gain traction for specialists to find additional ways of treatment or prevention.
By Kollin Lore