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Trouble With Finances May Forecast Memory Problems

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 12:01 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Brain Health, Gene Research

Having trouble with counting change and balancinga check book may forecast dementia this study says

Looking For The Signs


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / close up render of neuron brain cell / author: Henrik5000

New research shows that trouble balancing a check book or figuring out change could be an early indicator of memory problems.

Declining financial skills develop about one year before Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed, found researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Their findings are published in the journal, Neurology.

In all, 87 people with mild cognitive impairment were studied. 25 among the group developed Alzheimer’s type dementia, while 62 did not, reports BBC. The control group consisted of 76 people with no memory problems.

Using the Financial Capacity Instrument (FCI) a tool to measure your financial skills including balancing a check book, paying and preparing bills, and counting money, the score for those who progressed onto Alzheimer’s showed a six percent decline in a year. The checkbook skill declined nine percent. While the control group and those with mild cognitive decline did not measure a loss in skills.

Declining financial skills become one more thing for caregivers and doctors to look for. Caregivers can check with the bank to make sure bills are being paid on time or being paid twice. Becoming a co-signer on an account can help.

Professor Daniel Marson, who led the study, said: "Declining financial skills are detectable in patients with mild cognitive impairment in the year before their conversion to Alzheimer's disease.

However, researchers warn, an occasional missed calculation should not be cause for alarm.

The Alzheimer’s Society of the UK says more research is needed into memory decline to begin to find useful, early indicators of the development of dementia.

Dementia research is desperately underfunded. One million people will develop dementia in the next 10 years. We must act now.” #

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