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Alzheimer's progression tracked prior to dementia
Date:9/23/2013

icipants were classified as having cognitive impairments caused by conditions other than Alzheimer's (23 percent) or did not meet any of the proposed criteria (5 percent).

"A total of 31 percent of our participants had preclinical disease," said Fagan. "This percentage matches findings from autopsy studies of the brains of older individuals, which have shown that about 30 percent of people who were cognitively normal had preclinical Alzheimer's pathology in their brain."

Scientists believe the rate of cognitive decline increases as people move through the stages of preclinical Alzheimer's. The new data support this idea. Five years after their initial evaluation, 11 percent of the stage 1 group, 26 percent of the stage 2 group, and 52 percent of the stage 3 group had been diagnosed with symptomatic Alzheimer's.

Individuals with preclinical Alzheimer's disease were six times more likely to die over the next decade than older adults without preclinical Alzheimer's disease, but researchers don't know why.

"Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease might also be associated with other life-threatening illnesses," Fagan said. "It's also possible that the presence of Alzheimer's hampers the diagnosis and treatment of other conditions or contributes to health problems elsewhere in the body. We don't have enough data yet to say, but it's an issue we're continuing to investigate."


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Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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