Being unaware of memory loss is actually an important warning sign for developing Alzheimer’s disease, new research finds.
People who were unaware of their own memory problems — known as anosognosia — were 64% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s within 5 years.
On the other hand, if you are worried about memory loss, but your partner isn’t, then it’s probably not Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Philip Gerretsen, the study’s lead author, said:
“If patients complain of memory problems, but their partner or caregiver isn’t overly concerned, it’s likely that the memory loss is due to other factors, possibly depression or anxiety.
They can be reassured that they are unlikely to develop dementia, and the other causes of memory loss should be addressed.”
The conclusions come from the largest ever study on the self-awareness of dementia.
Over one thousand people aged 55 to 90 were involved.
Being unaware of memory problems predicted the shift from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers found.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Gerretsen et al., 2017).