Memory loss may be first sign of dementia
Older U.S. adults who complain their "mind is going" may be losing a part of their brain along with their memory, according to U.S. researchers.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, looked at 120 people over the age of 60 and found people who complained of significant memory problems but still had normal performance on memory tests had reduced gray-matter density in their brains even though they weren't diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, a transition stage between normal aging and the more serious problems caused by Alzheimer's disease, informs United Press International.
According to Reuters, subjective complaints of memory loss "may signify a very early stage of the dementing process for some individuals," the team writes. Therefore, they recommend that older adults who report significant problems with memory loss "warrant evaluation and close monitoring over time."
To better understand the significance of these correlations, Saykin and his colleagues intend to follow the study group over time.
They also note that their subjects had relatively high educational levels and IQ scores, so future studies should evaluate patients with lower levels of mental functioning.