A new study suggests that people who are unaware of their forgetfulness may be at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
We’ve all had that sneaking feeling we’re forgetting something as we rush out the door to work or as we board a plane to a distant location, mentally checking off all the things that could have slipped our mind. But what about when we get the sneaking suspicion we’re forgetting things more than usual? Usually, a forgotten set of a keys or a conference call that slips by unnoticed can be brushed off as temporary brain fog. Sometimes, though, frequent forgetfulness might give you pause, especially if you have a family history of dementia. Could it be Alzheimer’s?
The good news is that being aware of forgetfulness is a sign that you’re unlikely to develop dementia, according to a new study conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Those who were unaware of their forgetfulness, a condition called anosognosia, were more likely to go on to develop Alzheimer’s.
“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,” said lead author Dr. Philip Gerretsen in a statement.
The study is the largest of its kind on memory awareness, looking at existing data of 1,062 people between the ages of 55 and 90 over 12 years. Researchers also observed that patients with anosognosia had reduced glucose uptake. Glucose is a type of sugar the brain needs to function, and it’s something that is impaired in Alzheimer’s.
Next, researchers will be looking at how brain training exercises and stimulating the brain with an electrical current affects dementia development for patients with mild cognitive awareness.
Read the full write-up here.