MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With more and more people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, doctors say it’s critical to identify problems with memory and thinking as soon as possible.

Now, a simple test could help spot the early signs of the disease.

Emily Caldwell’s mother Bonnie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, but the family suspected something wasn’t right two years before that.

“She was always missing a beat. We would be in conversation and she would say, what are you talking about?” said caregiver Emily Caldwell.

Now, researchers at Ohio State University say a simple, self-administered test can help spot cognitive changes.  The four page test, which was given to people 50 and older, measured language, reasoning, problem solving and memory.

“We are able to use it very easily in community settings,” said Dr. Douglas Scharre, the Director of Cogntiive Neurology at Ohio State University.

Dr. Douglas Scharre says the test can be taken at home, the senior center or the doctor’s office and it takes less than 15 minutes. Previous research shows it can detect 80 percent of people with mild thinking and memory issues.  Researchers hope the test will help catch cognitive changes earlier so doctors can start treatment right away.

“Patients just come in too late to be identified .They come into their doctor’s office perhaps 3 or 4 years after people have noticed specific cognitive issues,” added Dr Scharre.

Caldwell says the test would have made a big difference with her mom.

“It definitely would have helped us confirm our suspicions and maybe try to be more aggressive about getting her evaluated,” said Caldwell.

Researchers say people who take the test should talk to their doctor before interpreting results.

They caution the study does not diagnose a person with Alzheimer’s. You can find the test by clicking here.  The site appears to have received a lot of web traffic, it may time some time to load.  If you are unable to reach it, please wait a few hours and try again.  


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