What Are The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Early, accurate diagnosis is beneficial for several reasons. Beginning treatment early in the disease process may help preserve daily functioning for some time, even though the underlying Alzheimers process cannot be stopped or reversed.
Having an early diagnosis helps people with Alzheimers and their families:
Symptoms Of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Some people have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. It can be an early sign of Alzheimers. But, not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimers disease. People with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI memory problems may include:
- Losing things often
- Forgetting to go to events or appointments
- Having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease from MedlinePlus.
Becoming Confused In Familiar Surroundings
This is different to: getting confused about the day of the week but working it out later.
Your parent may forget where they are and how they got there. Along with losing track of dates, seasons and the time this is one of the most tell-tale signs of early onset dementia.
They may also struggle to understand something if its not happening immediately. This is because the mind of someone with dementia is mostly situated in the present and they find it difficult to comprehend the passage of time.
For example, your mum may tell you shes missed you because she thinks she hasnt seen you in a long time, but in reality you visited her last week. Another example includes time passing very slowly in a general sense: ten minutes might seem like an hour, an hour might seem like a day and so on.
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Early Warning Signs And Diagnosis
Alzheimers Disease can be caught in the early stageswhen the best treatments are availableby watching for telltale warning signs. If you recognize the warning signs in yourself or a loved one, make an appointment to see your physician right away. Brain imaging technology can diagnose Alzheimers early, improving the opportunities for symptom management.
Good Habits That Keep The Brain Young For Longer
The brain does not age like the rest of the body. There are no gray hair or wrinkles. However, we often feel that the older we get, the weaker our mental abilities become. For example, our short-term memory suffers.
In order to keep your mind young, it is helpful to rely on certain life habits, such as:
- Performing moderate exercise, preferably aerobic and outdoors. Communing with nature, breathing properly and performing oxygenating exercises with deep breaths. Oxygenating the brain is essential.
- Leading an active social life. Research like this one published in 2006 in the journal Neurology suggests that social relationships may play a positive role in preventing dementia.
- Proper sleep hygiene. Experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. It is also very healthy to take a nap of at least 30 minutes and a maximum of 90 minutes between 1pm and 4pm.
- Adequate diet. Certain foods, such as refined sugar, processed foods, industrial flours, saturated fats, and alcohol can contribute to the onset of dementia.
- Taking care of self-esteem. Social relationships begin with the relationship we establish with ourselves. Showing love, admiration and pride, pampering the body, taking care of our physical appearance and spending time listening to our body can all be parameters that will make us feel younger in the long run.
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Why Early Diagnosis Of Dementia Is Important
Dementia is a profoundly life-changing condition and reactions to a diagnosis can range from dismay and deep sadness to anger and despair. But for many people, it can also come as a relief. A diagnosis may well provide long-awaited answers for a failing memory, communication problems and changes in behaviour.
An early diagnosis opens the door to future care and treatment. It helps people to plan ahead while they are still able to make important decisions on their care and support needs and on financial and legal matters. It also helps them and their families to receive practical information, advice and guidance as they face new challenges.
The Signs Of This Form Of Dementia Are Different From Those Of Normal Age
Did you ever stride purposefully into a room, stand in one spot, and then wonder what you’d intended to do? Have you ever lost your house keys, or forgot where you parked the car? Relax. Occasional memory slips are natural.
“Everyone has these experiences sometimes, but if they frequently happen to you or someone you love, they may be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Scott M. McGinnis, a neurologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Medical Editor of the Harvard Special Health Report A Guide to Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease.
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This Technology Can Predict Early Alzheimers With Near 100% Accuracy
Researchers in Lithuania have developed a deep learning-based method that can predict the possible onset of Alzheimers disease with over 99 per cent accuracy.
The method uses Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning to analyse brain images. It is faster than manual analysis, which also requires specific knowledge of the changes associated with Alzheimers.
Researchers from Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania developed the method while analysing functional MRI images obtained from 138 subjects. They found it performed better in terms of accuracy, sensitivity and specificity than previously developed methods.
The findings of the research were published in the journal Diagnostics’ on Monday.
The method could be a game-changer in how Alzheimers and dementia are detected as according to the World Health Organization , Alzheimers is the most frequent cause of dementia and contributes up to 70 per cent of dementia cases.
Technologies can make medicine more accessible and cheaper. Although they will never truly replace the medical professional.
Technologies can make medicine more accessible and cheaper. Although they will never truly replace the medical professional,Rytis Maskelinas, a researcher at the Department of Multimedia Engineering at KTU.
Rapid And Unexplained Mood Swings And/or Depression
This is different to: more typical age-related behaviours such as becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
Mood and personality changes can be associated with early signs of dementia. This could include becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious, and your parent may find themselves getting easily upset in places they feel unsure about. Some of the dementia symptoms NHS lists include:
- Increased anxiety
- Violent mood swings
For example, your parent may appear calm, then visibly upset, and then very angry in a matter of minutes. This is a significant sign of dementia anger and frustration specifically if its unprovoked.
Other physical signs include pacing, obsessing over minor details, agitation, fear, confusion, rage and feeling overwhelmed because theyre trying to make sense of a world thats now confusing to them.
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Potential Breakthrough For Prevention And Treatment
Researchers hope that their findings lead to breakthroughs in treatment methods. Senior study author, Dr. Ed Goetzl, says:
My vision of the future is you have your breakfast cereal, and on one side you have a statin for cardiovascular disease and on the other side you have three pills to prevent dementia.
He went on to state that, This study shows that insulin resistance is a major central nervous system metabolic abnormality in Alzheimers disease that contributes to neural cell damage. As insulin resistance is a known condition in type 2 diabetes and is treatable with several classes of existing drugs, these treatments may be useful as part of a multi-agent program for Alzheimers.
The blood test is still in the early stages of development and will require a larger and longer study before it can be used to detect Alzheimers. The lead author of the study and neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, Dimitrios Kapagiannis, says: We will need replication and validation, but Im very optimistic this work will hold.
Do you think the newest blood test is a viable way to prevent Alzheimers disease? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Struggling To Adapt To Change
For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience can cause fear. Suddenly, they cant remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They cant remember why they went to the store, and they get lost on the way home.
Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences. Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early dementia.
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Early Signs Of Dementia And How To Spot Them
Spotting the early signs of Dementia can make all the difference to the progression of the disease. If it is diagnosed during the early stages there is a chance that medication will slow down the diseases that cause the damage to the brain.
Weve put together this guide to the early signs of dementia for you to look out for, and some specific symptoms you can monitor. Please use the links below to navigate the article:
How Your Driving Might Reveal Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s
Everyone’s driving changes as they age. But for some people, subtle differences emerge in how they control a vehicle, which scientists say are associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
In an experiment to find out whether these driving differences can be detected using Global Positioning System-based location-tracking devices, a group of over-65s in Missouri in the US agreed to have their driving closely monitored for one year.
The DRIVES Study at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Catherine Roe and Ganesh Babulal and funded by the National Institute on Aging, wanted to find out was whether just studying the driving habits of this group alone could reveal the start of the disease – without the need for invasive or expensive medical procedures.
After 365 days accumulating the information, they are confident that it could.
Among the 139 people involved in the study, medical tests had already shown around half of them had very early or “preclinical” Alzheimer’s disease. The other half did not. Analysis of their driving revealed detectable differences between the two groups.
Specifically, those with preclinical Alzheimer’s tended to drive more slowly, make abrupt changes, travel less at night, and logged fewer miles overall, for example. They also visited a smaller variety of destinations when driving, sticking to slightly more confined routes.
But the prediction based on age and driving alone was almost as precise.
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Signs Of Mild Alzheimers Disease
In mild Alzheimers disease, a person may seem to be healthy but has more and more trouble making sense of the world around him or her. The realization that something is wrong often comes gradually to the person and his or her family. Problems can include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
- Repeating questions
- Increased sleeping
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
A common cause of death for people with Alzheimers disease is aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia develops when a person cannot swallow properly and takes food or liquids into the lungs instead of air.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimers, though there are medicines that can treat the symptoms of the disease.
On A Personal Level: Early Symptoms Of Dementia
- Changes in character and mood. People with early symptoms of dementia experience changes in mood. They may suddenly become very anxious, irritable, fearful, or excessively depressed. They can also sometimes exhibit inappropriate or uninhibited behavior in public.
- A tendency to isolation. Since they tend to feel more fearful and vulnerable, they are not interested in social relationships or paying attention to what others tell them. As a result, these people maybe even more withdrawn, tend to isolate themselves, to feel melancholy.
- Depressive executives are the antechamber of Alzheimers.
- Neglect of personal grooming. People with dementia have difficulty making decisions. They also see their capacity for judgment and common sense reduced. For example, when shopping, they will tend to buy unnecessary, extravagant, or too many items. They may also stop taking care of their personal hygiene. This can lead them to have social problems.
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What Happens In The Early Stage Of Dementia
Dementia affects everyone differently and early symptoms are often relatively mild and not always easy to notice.
Many people at the early stage of dementia stay largely independent and only need a bit of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do and not to take over and do things for them. Instead, try doing things with them, for example helping the person develop a routine, reminder lists and prompts, and use technology.
For more information for people living with dementia, see the ‘Keeping active and involved‘ page.
The early stage of dementia is when many people choose to make plans for the future, while they still have the ability to do so. This includes making a Lasting power of attorney , and advance decisions and advance statements to ensure their wishes and preferences are made clear.
When To See A Doctor
Forgetfulness and memory problems dont automatically point to dementia. These are normal parts of aging and can also occur due to other factors, such as fatigue. Still, you shouldnt ignore the symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing a number of dementia symptoms that arent improving, talk with a doctor.
They can refer you to a neurologist who can examine you or your loved ones physical and mental health and determine whether the symptoms result from dementia or another cognitive problem. The doctor may order:
- a complete series of memory and mental tests
- a neurological exam
- brain imaging tests
If youre concerned about your forgetfulness and dont already have a neurologist, you can view doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
Dementia is more common in people over the age of 65, but it can also affect younger people. Early onset of the disease can begin when people are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. With treatment and early diagnosis, you can slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function. The treatments may include medications, cognitive training, and therapy.
Possible causes of dementia include:
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What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, a loss of brain function that affects memory, thinking, language, judgment and behavior. In Alzheimer’s disease, large numbers of neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die.
Irreversible and progressive, Alzheimer’s disease slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living.
The stages of the disease typically progress from mild to moderate to severe. Symptoms usually develop slowly and gradually worsen over a number of years however, progression and symptoms vary from person to person. The first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease usually appears as forgetfulness.
Mild cognitive impairment is a stage between normal forgetfulness due to aging and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. People with MCI have mild problems with thinking and memory that do not interfere with everyday activities. Not everyone with MCI develops Alzheimer’s disease.
Other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s include language problems, difficulty performing tasks that require thought, personality changes and loss of social skills.
People with severe Alzheimer’s disease are unable to recognize family members or understand language.
Problem Solving Or Planning Difficulties
The person may find that they have difficulty following directions, solving problems, and focusing. For example, they may find it difficult to:
- follow a recipe
- follow directions on a product
- keeping track of monthly bills or expenses
Some people often have problems like these, but if they start to happen when they did not happen before, it could indicate early onset Alzheimers disease.
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Take The Sage Test At Home
Anyone can take the SAGE test anytime. Its free and you can get it here on the Ohio State University website.
Print the test and take it with a pen or pencil. Theres no time limit, but most people finish in about 15 minutes.
Sample questions from the test:
- How many nickels are in 60 cents?
- You are buying $13.45 of groceries. How much change would you receive back from a $20 bill?
- Write down the names of 12 different animals.
- Draw a large face of a clock and place in the numbers.Position the hands for 10 minutes after 11 oclock. On your clock, label L for the long hand and S for the short hand.
What To Do When A Loved One Is Exhibiting Symptoms Of Alzheimers
If these symptoms persist and are interfering with a loved ones ability to lead a normal life, its time to intervene or at least start carefully monitoring their well-being. Don’t let yourself or a family member remain in denial about what may be Alzheimers. With early diagnosis, treatment and proper support, the progression of Alzheimers can sometimes be mitigated. Its never too soon to learn what can be done to ensure a loved ones health, happiness, and safety.
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