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Falls Could Signal Early Alzheimer's Disease
Date:7/18/2011

on their findings, they added, these symptoms may appear before other more obvious signs of the disease, such as memory loss and impaired thinking.

"Growing scientific evidence suggests that 'silent' biological changes may be occurring in the brain a decade or more before we can see the outward symptoms of Alzheimer's," Maria Carrillo, Alzheimer's Association senior director of medical and scientific relations, said in the news release. "According to this study, a fall by an older adult who otherwise has a low risk of falling may signal a need for diagnostic evaluation for Alzheimer's."

The study authors concluded that additional research is needed to improve early detection and intervention in Alzheimer's disease. Lowering the risk of falls, they added, could also have an economic impact since these incidents contribute to higher rates of disability among older adults, premature placements in nursing homes and more than $19 billion in direct medical costs in 2000 alone.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has more on Alzheimer's disease.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Alzheimer's Association International Conference, news release, July 17, 2011


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