There is no definitive test to diagnose a person with Alzheimer's, but research published this week in the journal Neurology is giving scientists a tool for early recognition of the disease.
Healthy subjects with an average age of 73 were studied over a period of 10 years at the University of Kentucky. They were asked each year to simply report any memory changes they felt.
It turns out self-reporting is key to early detection. Subjects who first reported small signs of forgetfulness were about three times more likely to later develop dementia than those who did not have signs of forgetfulness. Cognitive impairment in the affected individuals began at nine years into the study, and a diagnosis of dementia could be given at 12 years.