Alzheimer's is often not recognized



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Numerous misdiagnoses in Alzheimer's patients

Many Alzheimer's diseases are not recognized as such or are recognized only too late. Since patients under the age of 60 in particular often do not have any typical Alzheimer's symptoms, initial misdiagnoses are not uncommon, Spanish scientists report in the current issue of the specialist journal "Neurology".

Almost 40 percent of Alzheimer's patients did not show the forgetfulness typical of Alzheimer's in the context of their study, write the Spanish researchers around the pathologist Dr. Albert Lladó from Barcelona. This makes the diagnosis considerably more difficult, especially in the early Alzheimer's disease (early-onset Alzheimer's disease, EOAD) of patients between the ages of 40 and 60, the scientists report.

40 percent of Alzheimer's patients without typical symptoms As part of their study, the Spanish researchers had evaluated the diagnoses and the course of the disease in 40 patients in whom an early Alzheimer's disease could be determined by tissue analysis after their death. The average age of the deceased was relatively low at 55 and those affected had already lived with the disease on average for eleven years. However, the corresponding Alzheimer's diagnosis was made on average only three years after the first clinical symptoms appeared, according to the results of the Spanish studies. In addition, the first signs of the disease were characterized by the typical episodic memory disorders in only 25 of the early Alzheimer's patients (63 percent). Initially, 37 percent of those affected did not have any memory gaps. The diagnoses in the analyzed medical records were correspondingly different. While the diagnosis of Alzheimer's patients with memory problems was usually made during their lifetime, the doctors were only able to diagnose the disease as such in just under every second (47 percent) of patients with atypical Alzheimer's symptoms.

Alzheimer's Disease Not Recognized in Numerous Patients Spanish scientists report that Alzheimer's patients with atypical symptoms, such as behavioral disorders, mood swings or speech and vision disorders, had considerable difficulties in identifying the dementia disease. According to the experts, a wide variety of diagnoses such as frontotemporal degeneration, primarily progressive aphasia or depression were made. Alzheimer's disease itself was not diagnosed in almost 50 percent of these patients until they died. According to the experts, the main problem here is that early diagnosis of Alzheimer's is of particular importance. Because the most widespread form of dementia is not curable until today and it can only be gained for the patient through appropriate therapy for a few years, in which they remain suitable for everyday use for longer. However, an early diagnosis must be made for this.

Research into new Alzheimer's diagnosis methods For this reason, researchers worldwide have been trying to improve the diagnosis methods for Alzheimer's for years. For example, Francesca Cordeiro, from the University College London Ophthalmological Institute, and her colleague Stephen Moss presented a way in early 2010 to identify Alzheimer's in mice using a relatively simple eye test. As Cordeiro and Moss reported in the online trade magazine "Cell Death and Disease", they were able to use fluorescent markers, which attached themselves to dying cells, to visualize green dots on the retina, which were used to indicate the death of cells in certain brain regions were. By further developing their method, the course of the disease and the success of possible therapies could be continuously monitored, the British researchers explained. (fp)

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Video: How Do You Know If You Have Alzheimer Disease


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