A US study involving 1,047 people over the age of 50 assessed the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) test as a potential screening tool for mental decline. It was found that this simple and inexpensive pencil and paper test could be used to screen large numbers of people in the community; 28.4% of participants were identified as having some degree of mental decline (based on previously published standards for the SAGE test).
The authors of this NHS Choices Behind the Headlines critical appraisal caution readers that it remains unclear how accurate and reliable this test is an indicator of mild cognitive impairment or dementia. This test, by itself, cannot accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease or any other form of dementia, although it may help doctors to decide whether to refer patients for further tests, or act as an indicator of a person’s deteriorating mental abilities over time. They also remind readers that balance of benefits and harms of screening the general population for mental decline or dementia remains unclear and is widely debated.
Study examines quick and simple ‘dementia test’. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, January 14th 2013.
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Scharre, DW. Chang, SI. [and] Nagaraja, HN. [et al] (2014). Community cognitive screening using the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE). The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, January 13th 2014. [Epub ahead of print]. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).