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Memory skills 'decline rapidly before Alzheimer's is diagnosed'

Memory skills 'decline rapidly before Alzheimer's is diagnosed'
24th March 2010

A new study into the development of Alzheimer's disease suggests that memory may be impaired before Alzheimer's begins, the author claims.

People who have mild cognitive impairment, which is the stage before Alzheimer's where there are no dementia problems, may see memory and thinking skills decline rapidly, according to Dr Robert Wilson.

In a study conducted by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and published in the journal Neurology, thinking skills were found to decline at an increasingly faster rate as this cognitive impairment progressed into dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

"These results show that we need to pay attention to this time before Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed, when people are just starting to have problems forgetting things," said Dr Wilson.

Once patients progressed into dementia, their mental skills declined at a rate four times faster than that of patients without any cognitive impairment.

According to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, there are around 820,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with Alzheimer's accounting for two-thirds of those cases among the elderly.

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