Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Subjective memory impairment as a sign of Alzheimer's disease

Date:
August 3, 2011
Source:
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated that even in merely subjective cases of memory deterioration changes may be visible in certain brain structures. The study supports the model whereby subjective memory impairment can be the first manifestation of Alzheimer's disease. Although not every individual with subjective memory impairment develops Alzheimer's disease, almost every patient with Alzheimer's disease initially develops subjective memory impairment that has not been possible to objectify until now.

Typical brain changes offer an approach toward early diagnosis.
Credit: Image courtesy of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Scientists at Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, and Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen in Bonn succeeded for the first time in demonstrating that even in merely subjective cases of memory deterioration changes may be visible in certain brain structures.

The study, published in the current issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry on August 1, supports the model whereby subjective memory impairment can be the first manifestation of Alzheimer's disease. Although not every individual with subjective memory impairment develops Alzheimer's disease, almost every patient with Alzheimer's disease initially develops subjective memory impairment that has not been possible to objectify until now.

Alzheimer's disease is the most frequent cause of dementia. The key to dementia prevention is diagnosis as early as possible. For some years now it has been a confirmed fact that in individuals who already have a slight objective memory impairment it is possible to diagnose the onset of Alzheimer's disease by means of imaging procedures and cerebrospinal fluid tests. However, it would be even better to reveal signs of such a disease at an even earlier stage. Researchers from Bonn and Berlin have now taken an important step in this direction: They found signs of brain function disorders in individuals who merely experience a subjective deterioration in memory without any reduced performance been detectable in objective behavioral tests.

The team led by Professor Frank Jessen (Bonn), Privatdozentin Susanne Erk, and Professor Henrik Walter (both at Charité) were able to demonstrate by functional magnetic resonance imaging that elderly people with subjective memory impairment already show functional alterations in the region of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a brain structure that is responsible, inter alia, for memory formation and is affected first in Alzheimer's disease. In an experiment, individuals with subjective memory impairment manifested reduced activation of the hippocampus during a memory task. At the same time there was increased activation of the right frontal brain.

"This increased frontal activation is probably of a compensatory nature," says Prof. Walter, head of the Mind and Brain Research Division at the Charité Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. "It compensates for the hippocampal deficit, which may explain why in the memory tests of this group the performance was no worse than in a same-age control group without subjective memory impairment." Prof. Frank Jessen, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Universitätsklinik Bonn, believes there may be clinical relevance for the future as well: "At least we have thus come closer to our goal of in future backing up the hitherto purely clinical early diagnosis of subjective memory impairment in suspected cases of Alzheimer's disease by conducting noninvasive objective brain examinations."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Erk, A. Spottke, A. Meisen, M. Wagner, H. Walter, F. Jessen. Evidence of Neuronal Compensation During Episodic Memory in Subjective Memory Impairment. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2011; 68 (8): 845 DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.80

Cite This Page:

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Subjective memory impairment as a sign of Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110803083500.htm>.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. (2011, August 3). Subjective memory impairment as a sign of Alzheimer's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110803083500.htm
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Subjective memory impairment as a sign of Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110803083500.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) — Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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