Self-reported memory problems can predict risk of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, according to a research by the University of Kentucky.
Researchers explained that people who notice that their memory is slipping are at risk of suffering the neurodegenerative disease.
Lead researcher Richard Kryscio, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Associate Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the University of Kentucky, conducted the study on 531 people aged averagely 73. All were not diagnosed with dementia during the start of the study.
Researchers asked the participants about changes in their memory. Participants also underwent annual memory and cognition tests for around 10 years, and their brains were examined after death.
The findings of the study revealed that 56 percent of the participants reported changes in their memory at an average age of 82. Furthermore, those who reported memory changes had threefold risk of developing memory and cognition problems.
Apart from this, researchers found that 80 percent of participants who reported experiencing memory changes developed dementia. However, only one in six participants developed the neurodegenerative disease.
"What's notable about our study is the time it took for the transition from self-reported memory complaint to dementia or clinical impairment -- about 12 years for dementia and nine years for clinical impairment -- after the memory complaints began," Kryscio said. "That suggests that there may be a significant window of opportunity for intervention before a diagnosable problem shows up."
"Certainly, someone with memory issues should report it to their doctor so they can be followed. Unfortunately, however, we do not yet have preventative therapies for Alzheimer's disease or other illnesses that cause memory problems," Kryscio said.
The findings are published in the journal Neurology.