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Alzheimer's not predicted by having a senior moment

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A "senior moment" is a common experience for many people and patients often wonder if it is a portent for the development of Alzheimer's disease. Philly.com looked at a German study titled Prognosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment in General Practice in a March 10 article. The short answer is, probably not. Over 75 percent of patient in the study improved or had no change in cognition during the study period.

The National Institutes of Health describe Alzheimer's disease as:

an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear after age 60.

The medical term for a "senior moment" is mild cognitive impairment. The NIH describes it as:

Some forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. However, some people have more memory problems than other people their age. This condition is called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. People with MCI can take care of themselves and do their normal activities.

MCI memory problems may include

  • Losing things often
  • Forgetting to go to events and appointments
  • Having more trouble coming up with words than other people of the same age

The NIH suggests that patients with concerns about their memory consult with their physician. Certain medical conditions and medications may produce symptoms similar to MCI. The study's authors "suggest that patients should not be alarmed unnecessarily by a diagnosis of MCI."

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