Awareness of Memory Decline Drops Years Before Dementia
Written by Editor   
Monday, September 21, 2015 08:18 AM

Awareness of memory impairment starts deteriorating about 2.6 years before a diagnosis of dementia, a new study shows.  Researchers also found that this deterioration is a manifestation of dementia-related pathology, such as tau tangles and gross cerebral infarcts.

The analysis was based on data from three ongoing longitudinal clinical pathologic studies of older patients who at the time of enrollment were at least 50 years old and did not have cognitive impairment.

Every year, study participants underwent a battery of 19 cognitive tests, including measures of episodic memory, semantic memory, and working memory. At every annual exam, they were also asked how often they had trouble remembering things and how their memory compared to a decade before.

The researchers put together a composite rating of how participants thought their memory was and compared this with their actual performance on memory tests over time.

Researchers determined that starting a mean of 2.6 years before their dementia onset, participants episodic memory awareness began to sharply decline.