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Study finds snowballing effect in memory loss disease

Posted Jan 12 2010 12:00am
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LOS ANGELES,(Xinhua) -- Researchers have found a snowballing effect in the Alzheimer's disease and are proposing early preventive treatment for effectiveness.

The findings of the study, conducted by the New York University's Langone Medical Center, was published in the January issue of the Alzheimer's & Dementia journal.

The study, involving 213 adults with and without subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) over an average of seven years, found that 54 percent of the SCI adults had aggravated into mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and even full-blown dementia, or long-term memory loss.

The study also found that only 15 percent of the non-SCI adultshad developed MCI or dementia.

"The findings indicate that a significant percentage of people with early subjective symptoms may experience further cognitive decline, whereas few persons without these symptoms decline.

"If decline does occur in those without SCI symptoms, it takes considerably longer than for those with subjective cognitive symptoms," said Barry Reisberg, lead researcher at the Langone Medical Center.

"This is the first study to use mild cognitive impairment as well as dementia as an outcome criterion to demonstrate the outcome of SCI as a possible forerunner of eventual Alzheimer's disease," the lead researcher added.

Researchers can now hopefully work out potential preventive therapy of the eventual Alzheimer's disease, popularly known as the senile dementia, as "these intriguing results more fully describe the possible relationship between early signs of memory loss and development of more serious impairment."

Physicians can possibly better target the prevention of the SCI which starts more than 20 years before dementia becomes evident.

"This is critical to know, as we look for ways to define who is at risk and for whom the earliest interventions might be successful," said Neil Buckholtz from the National Institute on Aging which supports the research.

"These findings also underscore the importance of clinicians' asking about, and listening to, concerns regarding changes in cognition and memory among their aging patients."

The Alzheimer's is so far an incurable disease that advances from confusions, to mood swings, to language breakdowns, and to finally long-term memory loss
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