warning signs 9 years before diagnosis?

A new study that may point the way to treatments that can be effective before symptoms appear.

Wednesday 12 October the magazine Alzheimer’s and dementia disseminated the results of a study conducted by researchers from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, UK.

They analyzed part of the information present in the large British Biobank medical database, which is the basis for many studies. According to them, it would be possible to detect diseases associated with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. up to 10 years before the diagnosis is made.

Health data and tests

So data from 500,000 UK citizens aged 40 to 69 were analysed. Data also includes results of various tests such as problem solving, memory, reaction times and number of falls, grip strength. Losses or, on the contrary, weight gains were also listed.

The data collected was then compared to that collected 5 to 9 years earlier.

What result?

Nol Swaddiwudhipong, one of the authors of the study, summarizes:

When we reviewed the patients’ histories, it became clear that they had cognitive impairment for several years before their symptoms became clear enough to trigger a diagnosis.

More specifically, reports Yahoo! News, participants who had developed Alzheimer’s disease performed less well than healthy ones on problem-solving tasks, reaction time, remembering lists of numbers or prospective memory, and relationship. A fall in the previous 12 months was also more common.

More effective screening, earlier diagnosis

Lead author Dr. Tim Rittman adds:

People should not be overly concerned if they e.g. can’t remember numbers (…) But we encourage anyone who has concerns or notices that their memory or memory is deteriorating to talk to your doctor.

Also, according to him, the results obtained may allow the identification of people who are likely to participate in clinical trials for new treatments. The reason is this:

The problem with clinical trials is that they often enroll patients with a diagnosis, but we know that by then they are already far advanced and their condition cannot be stopped. If we can find these people early enough, we’ll have a better chance of seeing if the drugs work..

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