Forgetting keys may predict dementia

Jan. 11, 2010 at 4:16 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Healthy older adults reporting subjective memory loss -- such as forgetting names -- are more likely to progress to advanced memory loss, U.S. scientists say.

Symptoms of subjective cognitive impairment are the earliest sign of cognitive decline marked by situations such as when a person recognizes they can't remember a name like they used to or where they recently placed their keys.

The study, published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, finds that healthy older adults reporting subjective memory loss are 4.5 times more likely to progress to the more advanced memory-loss stages of mild cognitive impairment or dementia than those free of subjective memory loss.

Dr. Barry Reisberg of the New York University's Langone Medical Center and colleagues tracked 213 adults with and without subjective memory loss over an average of seven years, with data collection taking nearly two decades.

Further cognitive decline to mild cognitive impairment or dementia was observed in 54 percent of subjective cognitive impairment persons, while only in 15 percent of persons free of subjective cognitive impairment, the study says.

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