A new study has identified five key signs of forgetfulness that can be detected up to 25 years before patients begin to suffer memory loss, this discovery has given researchers new hope of finding preventative treatments.
A recent study involving 128 people from families with a high risk of developing forgetfulness is giving researchers new hope.
Looking at signs, detectable in spinal fluid and brain scans, scientists are looking for ways to better understand how the disease progresses in efforts to produce new treatments for the more common form of the disease, that is not inherited.
A team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis developed a ‘timeline’ of the disease and published their findings in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The earliest change can be detected up to 25 years before the anticipated onset age, it’s a drop in spinal fluid levels of a key ingredient of forgetfulness brain plaques.
The plaques associated with forgetfulness can also become visible up to 15 years before memory problems begin. In addition, a protein called tau begins to accumulate in the spinal fluid and areas of the brain begin to shrink as well.
10 years out the brain begins to reduce its use of glucose and subtle memory problems in certain brain areas can be detected.
The clinical trials program director at the National Institute on Aging in America, Dr Laurie Ryan, said: "These exciting findings are the first to confirm what we have long suspected, that disease onset begins years before the first sign of cognitive decline or memory loss.