Older individuals who complain about memory lapses may be at risk of developing cognitive problems, finds study.
These findings indicate that primary care clinicians, who are often the first to see patients who are worried about their memory, should be aware that such complaints might be indicative of something serious and warrant a further cognitive assessment.
To see if certain memory complaints might be linked with potentially serious problems related to memory and thinking, investigators telephoned 16,964 older women (average age of 74 years) and asked them questions related to memory complaints, followed by various questions that assessed cognitive function.
Investigators found that, in general, the more memory complaints older individuals have, the worse off their cognitive functioning is.
"These findings suggest that clinicians may need to differentiate between the types of memory complaints their patients have, as some are likely due to normal aging whereas others are worrisome for possible cognitive decline," said Dr. Rebecca Amariglio of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, one of the study authors.
This will be particularly important as the incidence of Alzheimer's disease increases and therapies for the disease become available.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.