(FreedomBeacon.com)- When someone thinks of Alzheimer’s disease, they picture a person with memory loss and how it gradually spreads to impair other aspects of their functioning or thought. The possibility that Alzheimer’s might first manifest with other symptoms is less well-known by the general population.
True, the most typical sign of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. But, according to recent research, earlier onset of memory loss in dementia is associated with a slower pace of decline than the onset of other symptoms.
Researchers discovered that symptoms such as trouble constructing sentences, creating plans, solving issues, or evaluating space and distance all signal a steeper and quicker decline in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients than do early memory impairments. The study’s lead author, Dr. Jagan Pillai, believes if these early symptoms prove to be a trustworthy indicator, they may be able to better assist patients and their families in preparing for the future, he added.
Pillai’s team used information on more than 2,400 dementia sufferers from a database kept by the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center to conduct the research. The government database, established in 1984 and has grown into a sizable collection of patient data for analysis, receives information from several Alzheimer’s treatment facilities around the United States regularly.
The most prevalent first sign of Alzheimer’s and dementia is memory loss, and it’s the first indication that anything is wrong around 80% of the time. However, the researchers discovered executive function-related symptoms initially present in roughly 10% of dementia patients.
They may struggle with judgment, according to Pillai. “They cannot organize their day or carry out simple tasks like logging on to a computer.”
10% more people initially exhibit language-related problems. They struggle to explain themselves and can’t communicate in whole phrases. People with such uncommon early symptoms experienced a quicker deterioration in their brain function and capacity to maintain their quality of life.
But general cognition and functioning deterioration may be slowed down if language skills and executive functioning are partially intact.
The clinical studies that led to the approval of the Alzheimer’s medications Aduhelm (aducanumab) and Leqembi may have been influenced by the difference in the rate of deterioration, according to researchers.
“Future research may have ramifications for therapy,” Pillai said, “if they demonstrate that the illness itself is quite different for memory issues vs. other non-memory abnormalities.” “But we haven’t gotten there yet.”