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Dementia warning signs occur years before diagnosis, study says

Memory problems could be an early sign of

Memory problems could be an early sign of dementia and should not be ignored. Photo Credit: iStock

When it comes to Alzheimer's disease, you may be the first to know something is wrong.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky asked 531 healthy older adults, with an average age of 73 and no signs of dementia, if they noticed any memory problems. The participants were followed for a 10-year period and were administered yearly memory tests.

About 17 percent of the participants developed Alzheimer's or another form of dementia over the course of the study. Eight in 10 of those who developed dementia reported a change in memory during the study.

The positive news from the study is it took a relatively long time — about 12 years — from the time a person first reported memory problems to when they were diagnosed with dementia. Researchers said this suggests "there may be a significant window of opportunity for intervention before a diagnosable problem shows up."


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