Low Cognitive Test Scores Could Signal Alzheimer’s 18 Years Before Diagnosis Subtle declines in cognitive function could affect a person’s future risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease years later, suggests new research from Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology. In a study that tracked 2,125 European-American and African-American adults with an average age of 73, a team from the ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   October 01, 2015
Low Cognitive Test Scores Could Signal Alzheimer’s 18 Years Before Diagnosis
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Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   October 01, 2015
Low Cognitive Test Scores Could Signal Alzheimer’s 18 Years Before Diagnosis
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB5.20102015.np
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB5.20102015.np
Subtle declines in cognitive function could affect a person’s future risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease years later, suggests new research from Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
In a study that tracked 2,125 European-American and African-American adults with an average age of 73, a team from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that participants who would eventually be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s made errors on memory and thinking tests as early as 13 to 18 years before their diagnosis.
“The changes in thinking and memory that precede obvious symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin decades before,” says lead author Kumar B. Rajan. “While we cannot currently detect such changes in individuals at risk, we were able to observe them among a group of individuals who eventually developed dementia due to Alzheimer’s.”
Participants were tested every three years. Over the course of the study, 23 percent of African-Americans and 17 percent of European-Americans developed Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that those with lower test scores in the first year were 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than those with higher scores.
“A general current concept is that in development of Alzheimer’s disease, certain physical and biologic changes precede memory and thinking impairment,” says Rajan, adding that this study shows cognitive decline may begin earlier than previously thought. “Efforts to successfully prevent the disease may well require a better understanding of these processes near middle age.”
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October 2015
Volume 20, Issue 10