Memory loss not only indicant in Alzheimer’s diagnosis

New York : Researchers should not rely on the clinical symptoms of memory loss alone to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease because there could be other indicants of the neurodegenerative disease that do not initially affect memory, says a new study, according to IANS. There are more than just one symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. These could be language problems, disruptive individual behaviour and personality disorder — even judgement of someone’s concept of the position of objects in space, said researchers at Northwestern University, in Evanston, of Illinois, in the US.

If it affects personality, it may cause lack of inhibition. For example, someone who was shy might one day go up to the grocery store clerk — who is a complete stranger — and try to hug or even kiss her.  This all depends on what part of the brain is affected by Alzheimer’s, the study said. However, “these individuals are often overlooked in clinical trial designs and thus miss out on opportunities to participate in the experiments formulated to treat Alzheimer’s”, said lead author and Associate Professor Emily Rogalski at Northwestern University.

“Such individuals are often excluded because they don’t show memory deficits, inspite of sharing the same disease (Alzheimer’s) that’s causing their symptoms,” Rogalski added. In the study, the authors identified the clinical features of individuals with primary progressive aphasia — a rare dementia that causes decline in language abilities due to Alzheimer’s disease.

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