Dr. Linda Ercoli, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour in Los Angeles, and the lead author in the research said, there is a lot of confusion about memory complaints, and whether they should be taken seriously or not study author. The study, which is the first of its kind, shows an association between memory complaints and underlying brain function decline, and stresses that although every complaint will not lead to Alzheimer's disease, it's important to listen when patients talk about their memory concerns, Ercoli said.
The two-year study was conducted on 30 adults, of the age 50 to 82, with memory complaints. At the start and end of the study, the participants' brain function was assessed using 'positron emission tomography' (PET), which measures brain activity by assessing the amount of glucose metabolised by the brain as fuel.
The researchers felt that among all the participants, greater frequency of memory complaints was associated with global brain decline, which appears to be part of the normal aging process.
However, the studies also showed that people with APOE-4, a gene associated with Alzheimer's disease, who made more use of memory compensation strategies (for example, lists and calendars) showed a greater decline in the temporal regions of the brain compared to those without APOE-4. The temporal regions are involved with memory functions.
Dr. Gary Small, professor at the Semel Institute and the principal investigator said that these findings may eventually help us identify which patients may benefit from clinical monitoring and early interventions so as to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.