Scientists have suggested that it is possible to detect early signs of dementia up to 18 years prior to actual diagnosis – a development that could pave a new way for us to treat this degenerative disease.
Currently, dementia has no cure, however, multiple scientific findings suggest that degenerative brain disease can be detected early. This not only helps us to be aware of the possible condition, but also prompts individuals to strengthen their brain health and defenses.
And the truth is, when it comes to dementia, it’s still impossible to say exactly who is most likely to suffer from it. However, a study reported in the Times of India that involved more than two thousand people showed that the performance of individuals on tests of memory and reasoning can reveal differences in people who will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease up to 18 years before diagnosis.
According to the test, which was completed 13 to 18 years before the end of the study, a lower cognitive test score was found to be associated with an 85% higher risk of possible dementia. This in turn also indicates that the development of Alzheimer’s disease can begin many years before diagnosis.
Doug Brown, MD and former director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said, “Dementia often causes changes in the brain years before symptoms become apparent.”
“This study shows that there may be subtle indications of Alzheimer’s disease in thinking and memory up to 18 years before a formal diagnosis can occur,” he added.
While the doctor explains that these tests are unable to accurately predict who will develop dementia, they can still be used to detect which people may be more likely to suffer from the disease.
Furthermore, experts point out that there are different variations associated with dementia symptoms. While some can be defined primarily by cognitive changes, others are determined by psychological changes.
Symptoms associated with cognitive impairment include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty finding words or completing a sentence
- Inability to solve problems
- Coordination difficulty
- Mental confusion
Symptoms associated with psychological changes are limited to:
- personality changes
Although the natural aging process significantly increases the likelihood of suffering from the disease, doctors and researchers suggest that the risk can be reduced through regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a positive attitude towards life.