New Study Offers Insight Into Dementia Detection

November 12, 2013 | By Lorenzo Mejia

Scientists at John Hopkins believe they have developed a new model for predicting if a senior who is exhibiting initial signs of forgetfulness have benign memory loss due to aging, or are on their way to one of the forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Elderly Senior Home Care Couple AutumnPrior to the occurrence of dementia, which is actual brain damage, seniors often exhibit mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is defined as a “measurable decline in intellectual abilities that does not seriously interfere with daily life”.

Of the seniors who develop MCI, approximately 5 to 10 percent a year progress to dementia.

The model developed by Johns Hopkins investigators tests individuals on a variety of aptitudes.  These include language, memory, processing speed, drawing capability and others.  In normal people, the result is a typical bell curve, because we are all good at some things, average at other things and weak in some areas.

As dementia sets in, however, certain capabilities deteriorate more rapidly than others, producing a curve that is lopsided, or asymmetrical.

Researchers found that regardless of it did not matter what a person’s actual test results were, lopsidedness in their results was highly correlated with the incidence of Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

If researchers are able to predict more accurately who is going to suffer from dementia, it can help patients and families prepare accordingly.

 

 

Filed in: News

What's On Your Mind?

Trackback URL | RSS Feed for This Entry