People with fewer years in school are more likely not to notice the early signs of Alzheimer's onset, says a new review.
The team of researchers at the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre (ADRC) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis re-examined the records of 1,449 Alzheimer's patients from their centre and 21,880 patients from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Centre (NACC).
The findings confirmed that patients with 12 years or more of schooling were younger when diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease than patients with less than eight years of schooling.
"We may have a group of people who are at risk for slightly delayed detection of Alzheimer's disease," said Catherine Roe, lead author and neurology research instructor at the ADRC.
"Early detection of Alzheimer's disease is important as we progress towards treatments and cures because those treatments will need to be applied as early as possible to have the maximum possible benefit," she added.
Scientists also examined the severity dementia in patients during their first visit to Alzheimer's disease centre for the first time. They found that patients with fewer years of education were likely to be more severely impaired on their first visit.
"People with higher education levels may be more likely to have a job or a hobby that highlights early cognitive impairment as well as better access to medical care," Roe said.
"These could be factors that we need to incorporate into our procedures for screening patients for early signs of cognitive impairment," she added.
The study appears in this month's issue of Archives of Neurology.