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Fighting Alzheimer's before its onset
Date:9/10/2012

sharp contrast with standard screening tests and clinical interviews, which detected impairments in only 15 percent of those with MCI.

"The problem is that patients and their families have difficulty reporting executive functioning problems to their physician, because they may not have a good understanding of what these problems look like in their everyday life." says Johns. "That's why neuropsychological testing is important."

Executive function deficits affect a person's everyday life and their ability to plan and organize their activities. Even something as easy as running errands and figuring out whether to go to the drycleaners or to the supermarket can be difficult for adults with MCI. Detecting these problems early could improve patient care and treatment planning.

"If we miss the deficits, we miss out on an opportunity to intervene with the patient and the family to help them know what to expect and how to cope," says Johns. She is now conducting a follow-up study funded by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research, along with her supervisor, Natalie Phillips, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and member of CRDH.

Johns hopes her continued research will lead to a better understanding of why these deficits start at such an early stage of Alzheimer's and what other tools could be used for earlier detection of the disease.

Rewarding research: In recognition of the excellence of this research, Johns was awarded the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Aging Age+ Prize.
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Contact: Clea Desjardins
clea.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

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