A study by scientists from the University of Bristol, UK, published in the journal Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, was conducted to find out whether testing people's ability to reproduce words from a list four weeks after their initial reading can predict who will experience the greatest cognitive deficit during the year, even if they initially have no problems with cognitive functions or memory.
46 intellectually preserved elderly people (average age 70.7 years) took part in the test. Participants were asked to complete three memory tasks in which delayed recall was tested after 30 minutes and four weeks, as well as the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Scale III (ACE-III), commonly used to detect cognitive impairment, and an MRI scan of the brain. The ACE-III test was repeated after 12 months to assess changes in cognitive abilities.
The study found that the memory of 15 out of 46 participants deteriorated over the year, and that four-week verbal memory tests predicted cognitive decline in healthy older adults better than ACE-III clinical memory tests. The prediction was made even more accurate by combining the results of a four-week memory test with information obtained from an MRI scan of the brain, which showed the size of the brain region responsible for memory, which suffers from Alzheimer's disease.
Long-term memory testing may allow early detection of Alzheimer's disease. This is critically important, since any treatment that will be able to slow down or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease will become more effective if it starts at the earliest stages of the disease, and before serious memory problems are detected using existing tests.
This study shows evidence of an inexpensive and quick-to-use screening tool that can be used to detect the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease.
Next, the authors plan to evaluate the specificity of the 4-week verbal memory test for Alzheimer's disease and other disorders that cause cognitive decline. To do this, the results of long-term memory tests will be compared with the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, which is a reliable but invasive method of diagnosing Alzheimer's disease.
Article by A.R.Wearn et al. Accelerated long-term forgetting in healthy older adults predicts cognitive decline over 1 year is published in the journal Alzheimer's Research and Therapy.
Aminat Adzhieva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on materials from Bristol: Testing memory over four weeks could predict Alzheimer's disease risk.