If You Think Your Memory Is Slipping You Might Be Right

Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images

People who notice their memory is slipping may be on to something.

Research, led by Richard Kryscio at the Alzheimer’s Disease Centre at the University of Kentucky, appears to confirm that self-reported memory complaints are strong predictors of clinical memory impairment later in life.

Kryscio and his group asked 531 people with an average age of 73 and free of dementia if they had noticed any changes in their memory in the prior year.

The participants were also given annual memory and thinking tests for an average of 10 years. After death, study participants’ brains were examined for evidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

During the study, 56% reported changes in their memory at an average age of 82.

The study found that those who reported changes in memory were nearly three times more likely to develop memory and thinking problems.

About one in six participants developed dementia during the study and 80% of those first reported memory changes.

Kryscio says the findings add to a growing body of evidence that self-reported memory complaints can be predictive of cognitive impairment later in life.

However, there isn’t cause for alarm if you can’t remember where you left your keys.

“Certainly, someone with memory issues should report it to their doctor so they can be followed,” he says.

“Unfortunately, however, we do not yet have preventative therapies for Alzheimer’s disease or other illnesses that cause memory problems.”

The research is published in the journal Neurology.

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