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Trouble With Daily Activities Could Point to Alzheimer's Risk
Date:9/17/2009

Unusual pattern seems to predict quicker dementia onset, study finds

THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Problems carrying out daily chores or enjoying hobbies could predict which people with "mild cognitive impairment" will progress more quickly to Alzheimer's dementia, U.S. researchers report.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is "a condition in which a person has problems with memory, language, or another mental function severe enough to be noticeable to other people and to show up on tests, but not serious enough to interfere with daily life." This type of mental state is considered a risk factor for dementia.

In fact, some studies have found that about 10 percent to 15 percent of those with MCI will progress to dementia each year, according to background information in the new study.

Reporting in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology, the researchers sought to determine if there were telltale signs within MCI that might spot those people who would progress more rapidly to full-blown dementia. To do so, they collected data on 111 people with mild cognitive impairment, then evaluated these individuals using brain scans and cognition tests.

Over the next two years of follow-up, 28 people did go on to develop dementia.

On their own, the tests did not predict which patients went on to develop dementia, said lead researcher Sarah Tomaszewski Farias, an associate professor of neurology at the University of California, Davis.

However, level of daily function was a key predictor, Farias said.

"So, if an older adult is starting to display problems in daily life, such as problems shopping independently, problems managing their own finances, problems performing household chores, and problems maintaining their hobbies, they are more likely to develop a dementia within several years," she said.

Farias cautioned t
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