Eureka! Researchers Now Know Whether It's Alzheimer's or Just Simple Bad Memory

OMG!  I feel like I won the lottery.  Researchers at Cornell University have reportedly found a way to separate out what may go on to become dementia from simply forgetting where your keys are.

According to newswise.com, the scientists discovered "a reliable method to distinguish memory declines associated with healthy aging from the more-serious memory disorders years before obvious symptoms emerge."

Even better, the method also allows research to accurately predict "who is more likely to develop cognitive impairment without expensive tests or invasive procedures."

Finally!  I don't have to worry I have Alzheimer's Disease because I can't find my keys -- and they're in my hands.

The results aren't just good news for those who may be prone to, or developing, dementia but also for healthy adults, newswise.com quotes Charles Brainerd, professor of human development and the study’s lead co-author with Valerie Reyna, director of the Institute for Human Neuroscience and professor of human development, both in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.

That's because what they've found is that "the memory abilities affected by cognitive impairment differ from those affected by healthy aging, resulting in unique error patterns on neuropsychological tests of memory." newswise.com quotes the authors.  Researchers used a mathematical model to detect these patterns by analyzing performance on such tests and measuring the separate memory processes used.

"With 10 or 15 minute recall tests already in common use worldwide, we can distinguish individuals who have or are at risk for developing cognitive impairment from healthy adults, and we can do so with better accuracy than any existing tools,” Brainerd told newswise.com.

And this gave me even more hope.  "The notion that memory declines continuously throughout adulthood appears to be incorrect, they say," the Web site notes. “When we separated out the cognitively impaired individuals, we found no evidence of further memory declines after the age of 69 in samples of nationally representative older adults and highly educated older adults,” Valerie Reyna, director of the Institute for Human Neuroscience and professor of human development, both in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, the study's lead co-author, told newswise.com.

Researchers studied how well study participants could recall things.  "“Reconstructive memory is very stable in healthy individuals, so declines in this type of memory are a hallmark of neurocognitive impairment,” Reyna told newswise.com.

Reconstructive memory is the recalling of a word or event by piecing it together from clues about its meaning, for example, recalling that “dog” was presented in a word list by first remembering that household pets were presented in the list.

Younger adults rely heavily on recollection, Brainerd said, but this method becomes increasingly inefficient throughout mid-adulthood. “Training people how to make better use of reconstructive recall as they age should assist healthy adult memory function,”newswise.com quotes him.








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