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Monday, December 05, 2022

Symptoms of dementia can be detected nine years before diagnosis

Symptoms of dementia can be detected nine years before diagnosis

Cambridge University study has been published Alzheimer’s and Dementia In the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, analysis of data from UK Biobank, a biomedical database and research resource containing anonymized health, lifestyle and genetic information from half a million UK participants aged 40–69. The results of this study open the possibility that in the future, high-risk patients may be screened nine years earlier.

Until now, it was unclear whether it was possible to detect changes in brain function before Alzheimer’s symptoms appeared. To answer this question, researchers University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust He turned to UK Biobank.

There are currently very few effective treatments for dementia or other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. This is partly because these diseases are often not diagnosed until symptoms appear, when the underlying loss of nerve cell function may begin years or even decades before. So by the time patients enter clinical trials, it may be too late to change the course of the disease.

The results of this study open the possibility that high-risk patients may be investigated well in advance in the future.”

Early detection can be used to identify sick people whose risk of developing the disease can be reduced with appropriate measures. Also, suitable patients can be identified to participate in clinical trials of new treatments.”

UK Biobank not only collected information on health status and prognosis of the participants, But also data from different trials. In this way, it was possible to determine retrospectively that at the beginning of the study, for example when the participants were first registered (five to nine years before diagnosis), the signs were already present.

Those who later developed Alzheimer’s disease performed worse than healthy people on problem-solving tasks, reaction time, remembering lists of numbers, probabilistic memory (our ability to remember something later), and matching. This has also been the case for people diagnosed with a rare form of dementia called frontotemporal dementia.

Those who later developed Alzheimer’s disease were more likely than healthy adults to have a fall in the past twelve months.”

University of Cambridge resident and first author of the study, Nol Swadiwudhipong, said: “When we looked at the patients’ medical histories, it was clear that they had cognitive impairments that required diagnosis. many years before the onset of symptoms. The deficits were often subtle but affected a variety of cognitive aspects. It’s a step in being able to screen people who are most at risk, for example those who are over 50 or who have high blood pressure or who don’t get enough exercise, and reduce their risk. to help intervene in the first step.” .

Study lead author Tim Reitman, from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, said that “For example, people shouldn’t worry too much if they are not good at remembering numbers. Of course, some healthy people will also do better or worse than their peers. But we encourage anyone who has anxiety or is struggling with their memory.”

The problem with clinical trials is that, essentially, “they often recruit patients with a diagnosis, but the ones we know are already well advanced to that point and their condition is invincible. If we find these people early, we have a better chance of seeing if the drugs are effective.”

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