Apr 6, 2010

Why Test Your Memory Test for Alzheimer's Dementia is Important

Imagine you made an important difference in someone's life...Imagine you didn't....
By Bob DeMarco 
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Test Your Memory Test for Alzheimer's Dementia is Important

Earlier I posted, Test Your Memory for Alzheimer's Dementia in 15 Minutes (SAGE). It is my belief that this is am important article and that it should be widely shared via email and social media.

I want to discuss the findings of the this memory test, how you could make an important difference in someone 's life, and the important of the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

Here are two important findings of the research.
  • First, the research indicates that four out of five people (80 percent) with mild thinking and memory issues will be detected by this test. This means mild cognitive impairment or an early stage of dementia.
  • Second, ninety five percent (95%) of people who are normal thinking will have normal SAGE scores. This means if you score 17 or higher on the test you don't have to worry about Alzheimer's right now.
I know from the number of emails I receive, and the number of people asking me to talk to a friend, that people are becoming increasingly worried about Alzheimer's disease. Most often, the worried party is related by birth to someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease, or related by marriage to someone that is sick and in a later stage of Alzheimer's disease.

Last year a Harris Interactive poll indicated that more than 100 million Americans had been "touched" by Alzheimer's. The same poll indicated that 35 million Americans are "worried" about Alzheimer's dementia. I suspect these numbers are growing.

Also see -- Sobering Statistics about Alzheimer's Disease

Let's assume that you know someone that is related to someone suffering from Alzheimer's, or you know someone that is worried about Alzheimer's disease. This test is the answer to one of the questions I get asked often -- What should I do (if I am worried about Alzheimer's)?

When asked, I suggest that the person find out if there is a wellness center at a University nearby. Many universities are now offering high quality, inexpensive memory testing. Next, I suggest that the person ask their personal care physician to refer them for memory testing. I also suggest that they call the 800 number for the Alzheimer's Association and ask if there is a free test available where they live.

I can't say this for certain, it appears that only a small fraction of the people that ask me for advice actually take my advice. In other words, they do nothing. That worries me.

SAGE which is now available for download and is free, could be the answer to this problematic question -- Are you worried about Alzheimer's disease?

If you, a family member, a friend, or a person over 65 takes the test one of two things will happen: you'll learn you have nothing to worry about at this time; or, you'll learn you need to see a doctor immediately for a series of memory test.

In essence, the test might give you peace of mind, or it might worry you to the point where you no longer sit around worrying -- instead you take action.

I have written repeatedly about the importance of early detection of Alzheimer's disease. It is important not only for the person suffering from Alzheimer's, but also for family members.

Just yesterday I received this email from a long time reader.

The doctors' failure to prescribe Alzheimer's medications at earliest diagnosis is truly tragic!. Especially in view of the widely reported NIH / UMass study that showed that the combination of ChEI's and Namenda does clearly slow the progression of the disease and provide a permanent improvement.

The doctor in charge of the study reported, optimistically, that this will change the way we treat Alzheimer's.

Apparently, and tragically unfortunately, it hasn't changed the way practitioners treat early Alzheimer's. I'm a lucky one, in that my physician put me on both drugs upon diagnosis of "early Alzheimer's" nearly five years ago, and I'm still functioning, driving, making music, and generally enjoying life. I'm still in "mild cognitive impairment" six years after losing my ability to work due to the disease.
I hope you will take the time to read the above email a few times.

Ok, I am up here on my soapbox and I have been yelling two things as loud as I can:
Now I will add, test your memory, it is easy to do -- go here to get started.

I understand that via this blog I am reaching people. Sadly, I am not reaching enough people. This blog reaches less than .002857 percent of the people that are worried about Alzheimer's disease -- right now.

There is a simple solution now available that could give people peace of mind, or help a person do what is necessary -- SAGE.

Yesterday, about 5 people emailed my article -- Test Your Memory for Alzheimer's Dementia in 15 Minutes (SAGE) to someone. Another three people used the share button to send the article to their Facebook Page or Twitter.

We can do better. Either you are a difference maker or you aren't.

You can share this article with family members, friends, work associates, to members of associations, to professional groups, and with support group moderators. You could consider printing this article and the previous article and handing it to your doctor.

Imagine you made an important difference in someone's life.

Imagine you didn't.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room