The Alzheimer’s disease could be detected with a memory test seven years before symptoms first appear, researchers from Britain’s University College London (UCL) have found.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.
For the test, 35 people were recruited, 21 of whom carried a mutation which put them at higher risk of having Alzheimer’s in their middle ages.
Participants were asked to remember a list of objects, details of a diagram, and some facts of a story.
They were challenged to recall the information 30 minutes later and seven days later again.
The team found that those with the mutation — who were expected to develop Alzheimer’s within seven years — were able to pass the test at 30 minutes but not really at seven days.
“It appears to enable detection of Alzheimer’s related memory problems much earlier than any other currently used cognitive test,” said Phil Weston of UCL’S Medical Research Centre Clinical Research Associate.
“With the individuals in our study being on average seven years away from the expected onset of any cognitive symptoms.”
The Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to complete some simple daily tasks.
The trial was published in the recent edition of The Lancet Neurology.
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