Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia seen among older adults. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the recognized clinical state between healthy aging and Alzheimer's disease, while amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is a specific type characterized by deficits in episodic memory, the ability to retain new memories such as recent conversations, events, or upcoming appointments. People with aMCI are at twice the risk of others in their age group of progressing to Alzheimer's disease, but currently no conclusive test exists to predict who will develop the disorder. Researchers have revealed that an affordable non-invasive test that detects electrical activity in the brain may be used to spot people who are at the risk of Alzheimer's.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) technology can be used to measure cognitive deficits in individuals with aMCI. Study lead author Hsueh-Sheng Chiang, post-doctoral fellow at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the US, said, "We think this might be more sensitive and more specific in pointing out certain cognitive deficits, in this case semantic memory (or long-term memory), than other non-EEG methods available, because EEG reflects direct neural activity."
The study involving 16 subjects with aMCI and 17 age matched healthy controls, the researchers identified a specific variation in brain waves of individuals with aMCI. The study findings depicted a pattern of delayed neural activity that is directly related to the severity of impairment in cognitive performance on a word finding task and may indicate an early dysfunction of progression to Alzheimer's disease.
The research was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.