A Decade's Warning on Alzheimer's?

The first indications of Alzheimer's disease -- not only signs of forgetfulness but other subtle problems -- may appear as long as 10 years prior to an official diagnosis, according to a Swedish study (see free text link below). This new evidence strengthens the notion Alzheimer's can injure a patient's brain long before the more popular signs of the disease -- namely severe memory loss -- appear.

An analysis of 47 studies uncovered a tell-tale clue -- subtle thinking problems -- that were more common with patients who eventually succumbed to Alzheimer's and a finding that fits with the way the disease affects the brain.

Among the other subtleties that may predict Alzheimer's:

  • One's inability to multi-task or plan ahead.
  • Taking longer to solve problems.
  • Scoring poorly on verbal tests.

Remember, folks, 4.5 million people are affected today by Alzheimer's and its prevalence doubles every five years after age 65. In fact, if current population trends continue, some 13.5 million Americans will have Alzheimer's disease by 2050 which may be the looming health care disaster to come.

All the more reason, to remind you Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging, and there are ways to reduce your chances of getting the disease. A few to consider:

American Psychological Association July 31, 2005 Free Full Text Study

USA Today August 1, 2005

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