"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Memory loss in your 70s may be an early sign of future dementia.

Of all of the health problems that increase with age, memory loss is amongst those who cause probably the most anxiety. One big reason is uncertainty: People often wonder if their occasional memory lapses are a traditional a part of aging or the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, probably the most common type of dementia. a study, Published in today's issue of the journal. Neurologysheds some light—and maybe offers somewhat reassurance—concerning the relationship between self-reported memory loss and a diagnosis of dementia.

The study involved 531 individuals with a median age of 73 and no signs of Alzheimer's or dementia. They took memory and pondering tests yearly for a median of 10 years. The researchers also asked the participants in the event that they had noticed any changes of their memory over the past yr. At a median age of 82, greater than half reported memory changes.

1 in 6 developed dementia through the study, and 80 percent of them reported earlier memory changes. But it took about nine years from the primary self-report of memory change, a possible early sign of dementia, to the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, an intermediate stage between normal memory loss and dementia. The transition to dementia normally takes 12 years.

That relatively long time-frame implies that should you notice troubling changes in memory, there's no immediate cause for alarm, because the study's authors note (see “Warning Signs of Memory Loss: When Should You Worry?”). This period may offer a window for intervention through the early symptoms of dementia, but we don’t yet have a proven treatment to forestall or prevent Alzheimer's disease or other memory-related diseases.

Warning Signs of Memory Loss: When Should You Worry?

Maybe normal aging. Possible signs of cognitive decline
Walking right into a room and forgetting why you entered it. Getting lost in familiar surroundings.
Having trouble remembering the names of unfamiliar people. Difficulty remembering vital details of recent events.
Changes in memory in comparison with once you were younger. Difficulty following the plot of a television program or book because of memory problems.
Memory changes like other people of the identical age. Memory problems which can be worse than in people your age.
Misplacing items, but later remembering where you set them. Misplacing items and being unable to maneuver them again later.
Source: Rebecca Amariglio, Harvard Medical School