Forgetting About Dementia

September 14, 2015 | By Lorenzo Mejia

All senior citizens developing dementia will at some point forget that they have a memory problem all together. In a recent study, many began to lose awareness of their memory problems two to three years before the actual onset of the disease. A study published in Neurology, an online medical journal, found there were significant brain changes associated with the decline in memory awareness. The findings suggest that unawareness of one’s memory problems is inevitable in late-life dementia, driven by changes in the brain.

 

Through out the 10 years of the study, most memory loss began to drop an average of 2.6 years before the onset of dementia. Although each patient was different, virtually all participants had a lack of awareness of their memory problems at some point in the disease. Memory unawareness began earlier in younger participants researchers found because older subjects were more likely to expect declines in memory due to aging. Of the patients that died during the study, researchers found 3 dementia pathologies in the brain relating to tau proteins, areas of brain damage and changes in the protein TDP-43. As the brain changes build-up, dementia patients lose the awareness that their memory is failing. The biggest result of the study is the importance of family members who can give reliable reports about the history of the family member’s memory and thinking abilities.

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