COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) --An estimated 5-million Americans are battling Alzheimer’s Disease, but doctors say if it’s caught early enough, they have a better chance of treating it. The problem is, most patients don’t see a doctor until it’s too late.

Dr. Douglas Scharre and other researchers at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center spent five years developing a simple pen and paper test, called a "SAGE" (self-administered gerocognitive examination) test.  In that time, they tested more than 1,000 patients and found that nearly a third of them showed early signs of cognitive problems. By repeating the test from time to time, doctors now have a cheap and easy way to monitor their patients and detect even slight changes in their cognitive ability.

Doctors say while the test doesn’t diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s, it is a very effective screening tool that allows them to track a patient’s cognitive abilities very closely.  Currently, there are other tests that can be given to patients at the doctors office, but they can be costly and time consuming. Because patients take this test at home, it would save time and money.

You can download a copy of the SAGE test here.

(Photo courtesy OSU Wexner Medical Center)