A new memory test reliably predicts if you are going to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. But what’s truly amazing is the fact that this test is able to predict the risk 18 years prior to the disease showing any noticeable signs.
Apparently, simple memory and cognitive tests can predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The disease takes its toll on our minds decades earlier than we previously thought. After studying over 2,000 participants, a team from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago discovered that those who got the lowest scores in the tests over an 18-year period were almost 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than people with higher scores.
The scientists are confident that by focusing on the very subtle changes in brain function that occur at least a couple of decades before Alzheimer’s symptoms start showing up, we can be better prepared to deal with the disease. Though the findings are fairly recent, medical facilities who deal with Alzheimer’s disease now have plenty of time to decide how to better treat, or perhaps even prevent, this devastating disease.
For assessing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the team worked with 2,125 European-American and African-American volunteers living in Chicago, with an average age of 73. When they were selected for the study, none of them had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They were given tests to assess their memory and cognitive skills every three years over an 18-year period.
At the end of the assessment, 23 percent of the African-American participants and 17 percent of European-American participants ended up developing Alzheimer’s disease. Looking back at the test scores spread over the 18-year period, the scientists realized those with the highest and lowest scores offered patterns useful for predicting the possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The research paper states as follows.
“Those who scored lower overall in the two types of tests were 9.84 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than those with higher scores. These odds increased by 10 for every standard deviation that the score was lower than the average throughout the years that followed.”
In simpler words, every time the participant’s score was in the lower-end of the average test scores, the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increased substantially.
Though the actual tests they used to predict Alzheimer’s disease wasn’t made public, it is vital to keep the mind engaged and busy to ensure the brain keeps performing well. Simple memory tests can help keep the mind young and Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
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