March 23, 2010
Science Daily/American Academy of Neurology
Memory and thinking skills may decline rapidly for people who have mild cognitive impairment, which is the stage before Alzheimer's disease when people have mild memory problems but no dementia symptoms, and even more rapidly when dementia begins, which is when Alzheimer's disease is usually diagnosed.
"These results show that we need to pay attention to this time before Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed, when people are just starting to have problems forgetting things," said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
"The changes in rate of decline occur as the brain atrophies due to the disease, first mainly in the hippocampus during the initial symptomatic stage, referred to as mild cognitive impairment, then in the temporal, parietal and frontal cortex during the dementing illness phase of Alzheimer's disease," said David S. Knopman, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, who wrote an editorial accompanying the article.