All About the SAGE Test for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Detection

Designed to detect the first signs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) is a test of memory, concentration, and other mental abilities. Scientists from the University of California, San Diego created the SAGE.

The individual might choose to take the exam if they are concerned about their cognitive abilities or if other people have seen a change in their degree of thinking ability. The support of others may also inspire them to take this step.

This page provides a more thorough analysis of the SAGE assessment. Its function, as well as its veracity and trustworthiness, are discussed. In addition to explaining when professional medical advice should be sought, it also describes how to do the test.

Exactly what is the nature of dementia?

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 55 million individuals now who suffer from dementia, including over 10 million new instances of the condition are identified each year.

Diseases like Alzheimer's as well as other types of dementia cause gradual cognitive decline. These features include −

  • Ability to remember and analyze critically

  • Using one's brain and one's logic

At least one-third of those aged 85 and above have some kind of dementia, said the National Institute on Aging.


There are several types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and others manifest when normally functioning nerve cells in the brain cease communicating, leading to the symptoms mentioned below. Dementia patients have a greater mortality rate for these nerve cells.

Dementia may range in severity, with some individuals only experiencing minor symptoms and others needing assistance with even the most basic of activities of daily living.

Dementia signs and symptoms include

  • Trouble remembering; unable to complete sentences

  • losing track of time and missing out on appointments

  • Getting distracted when talking, reading, or watching anything, and losing your place in the story

  • getting lost in a familiar place

  • Developing a lack of self-control or good judgments

Dementia associated with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease affects around 70% of those who are diagnosed with dementia.

This disorder is characterized by the accumulation of protein in the brain, namely tau and beta-amyloid, which, when brought together, create plaques. This accumulation of protein is the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. As a direct result of this, nerve cells will begin to function in an aberrant manner.

The SAGE evaluation...what is it?

The SAGE test diagnoses the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia by testing mental skills such as thinking, memory, and cognition.

Ohio State University's (OSU) Wexner Medical Center is responsible for developing the test under the leadership of Douglas Scherer and his team.

Comparatively speaking, this test is more challenging than the Mini-Mental State Examination and other similar cognitive surveys (MMSE). This increases the test's likelihood of detecting even minor cognitive impairment.

Who should really consider taking the SAGE exam?

Individuals can decide to take the SAGE test to see whether they should be worried about their cognitive skills or if they have experienced a decline in their thinking abilities or their memory.

It's conceivable that the person's loved ones and acquaintances have seen changes in their cognitive abilities and expressed concern about it.

Possible Outcomes

The test may be accessed via the website of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

All you need to take the exam is a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. There are four iterations altogether, but only one has to be completed by each individual since the assessments are identical.

Consisting of multiple-choice questions, its purpose is to evaluate an individual's mental capacity. It may test the person's ability to tell time or ask them to do some simple arithmetic tasks.

It is highly recommended that participants do not check their watches or calendars at any time throughout the exam. While there is no hard and fast time restriction on the exam, most people finish in about 13 minutes. The task must be completed by one person working alone, without the aid of any other people.

To get a score and learn about the possible repercussions of this discovery, the individual must arrange an appointment with a licensed medical professional after finishing the assessment.

Accuracy and reliability are vital

Test results may only aid in the early identification of signs of cognitive impairment; they cannot be used to diagnose dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or any other condition. The outcomes of the test could be altered by a range of conditions, including age and degree of education. As a consequence of this, some authorities have advised that medical professionals grant an additional point to patients who are over the age of 80 or who have finished less than 12 years of formal education.

This 665-person study was conducted in 2021 by a research team. The study found that compared to the MMSE, the SAGE test could detect the shift from mild cognitive impairment to dementia by at least six months.

Because a person can conduct the test on oneself, the fundamental advantage of the test is that it makes it possible to complete assessments of mental function despite the existence of certain difficulties.

In 2017, this same team of researchers had already done a smaller study with just 66 people. They observed that a digitized version of the SAGE test displayed 90% specificity and 71% sensitivity in diagnosing cognitive impairment in patients with no visible signs of the disease.

When to consult a medical professional

In order to get a score for the SAGE test, a person will need to speak with their primary care physician. The highest possible score on the exam is 22. If a person has a score of 17 or above on the quiz, they are considered to have a typical score.

If the individual has a score that is lower than what was anticipated on the exam, the physician may seek further testing to establish if the individual is suffering from any kind of cognitive impairment.

If a person is having signs of dementia and would want to explore additional testing possibilities, they should consult with a medical professional as soon as possible.

Updated on: 23-Feb-2023


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