Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Declines In Other Thinking And Learning Skills May Precede Memory Loss In Alzheimer's Disease

Date:
October 13, 2009
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Cognitive abilities other than memory, including visuospatial skills needed to perceive relationships between objects, may decline years prior to a clinical diagnosis in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new report.

Cognitive abilities other than memory, including visuospatial skills needed to perceive relationships between objects, may decline years prior to a clinical diagnosis in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Related Articles


"Recent studies have focused on identifying the beginning of the transition from healthy aging to dementia," the authors write as background information in the article. "As new interventions become available, it will become important to identify the disease as early as possible." Loss of episodic memory—remembering events in one's life that can be explicitly stated—is commonly linked to Alzheimer's disease, but it is not the only aspect of cognition (thinking, learning and memory) that is affected.

David K. Johnson, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and colleagues assessed 444 individuals who did not have dementia when they were enrolled in the study, between 1979 and 2006. Upon enrolling, each participant underwent a clinical evaluation and a psychometric assessment including tests of four cognitive factors: global cognition, verbal memory, visuospatial skill and working memory. Participants were then evaluated at least one additional time before November 2007.

Over an average follow-up of 5.9 years, 134 individuals developed dementia and 310 did not; 44 with dementia died and underwent brain autopsies that confirmed a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Using data from the psychometric assessments, the researchers constructed models to evaluate the decline in various cognitive areas before individuals were diagnosed with dementia. "A novel finding was that visuospatial abilities demonstrated an inflection point [sudden change to a steeper slope of decline] three years before clinical diagnosis," the authors write.

Declines in overall cognitive abilities followed in the next year, whereas inflection points for verbal and working memory were not seen until one year before clinical diagnosis. Similar results occurred in only the subgroup of individuals with Alzheimer's disease diagnosis confirmed by autopsy.

"There are several implications of this study," the authors conclude. "Some of the earliest signs of preclinical disease may occur on tests of visuospatial and speeded psychomotor skills. Furthermore, the greatest rate of preclinical decline may occur on executive and attention tasks. These findings suggest that research into early detection of cognitive disorders using only episodic memory tasks, such as word lists or paragraph recall, may not be sensitive to either all of the earliest manifestations of disease or the most rapidly changing domain."

"In summary, converging longitudinal evidence suggests that after a sharp departure from the relatively flat course of normal aging there is a preclinical period in Alzheimer's disease with insufficient cognitive decline to warrant clinical diagnosis using conventional criteria but that can be seen with longitudinal data from multiple domains of cognition and not just memory," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David K. Johnson; Martha Storandt; John C. Morris; James E. Galvin. Longitudinal Study of the Transition From Healthy Aging to Alzheimer Disease. Arch Neurol, 2009; 66 (10): 1254-1259 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Declines In Other Thinking And Learning Skills May Precede Memory Loss In Alzheimer's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091012230443.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2009, October 13). Declines In Other Thinking And Learning Skills May Precede Memory Loss In Alzheimer's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091012230443.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Declines In Other Thinking And Learning Skills May Precede Memory Loss In Alzheimer's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091012230443.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) — Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins