Nightly News   |  January 13, 2014

Cognitive Test May Identify Early Impairment

Researchers at Ohio State University are showing promise in identifying cognitive issues early on.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> our are health news tonight has to do with the concern of a nation and an aging population , a number of people who spend the part of every day wondering if their memory is failing them and wondering if it could be a sign of something more serious. tonight there is a new at-home test to keep track of mental sharpness. we get our report from chief medical correspondent dr. nancy snyderman .

>> reporter: her latest adventure is part of her long-time passion for learning. she is participating in a study about mild cognitive impairment . those small changes in the brain that could ultimately lead to alzheimer's disease.

>> if i saw early signs they thought they could treat, then they would let me know .

>> reporter: she is one of more than a thousand people over the age of 50 who took a short exam developed by researchers at the ohio state 's medical center . they're showing promise in identifying cognitive issues early, which is a tool, researchers say, for anybody who is concerned about their own or loved one's memory loss .

>> they can do it on their own. it doesn't take doctor or staff time, it can be done almost anywhere.

>> reporter: the test is free and available on line to download, once printed, the simple four-page exam measures drawing skills, problem solving , language skill, and more, the answers are on line so anyone can track progress. researchers say if you're 62 or older, taking the test could be a good way to track decline. doctors caution that is just one way to track a possible problem.

>> just saying maybe my thinking is not as good as it used to be. and it starts the conversation with your physician.

>> reporter: in related news, the researchers at john honest kin says that the memory loss can be delayed by keeping the mind active and inquiring. using your brain, it is really true, use it or lose