A recent study has traced the loss of functions in Alzheimer's patients and found that after memory loss sets in through mild cognitive impairment, executive ability is the next to go.
The study was performed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic. The results of the study presented in the conference this week held in Madrid confirmed that, after cognitive function starts to deteriorate in Alzheimer's patients they being to lose a series of executive function abilities including decision making, concentration and higher-order problem solving.
According to Ron Petersen, the Mayo Clinic neurologist and lead researcher, "If someone with mild cognitive impairment starts having trouble staying on task, concentrating, multitasking, making decisions or paying attention to several things at once, that would mean they are progressing toward dementia. A decline in executive function will cause people to become more impaired in their daily activities, as it is pretty important in daily function."
He said that when one or the other aspect of brain function was lost besides memory the patient has crossed from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease.
Peterson said, "Knowing what area of cognitive function is likely to become impaired after memory helps us as we try to keep our eyes out for people when they are worsening."