New test seems to help distinguish between Alzheimer's and normal age-related memory decline

3 years ago

If you've ever wondered if the memory loss you're experiencing is early Alzheimer's or just typical age-related cognitive decline, take note: A new simple cognitive test seems to be able to distinguish between the two.

Researchers at the University of Illinois designed a test based on relational memory. That's the "ability to bind together various items." One particular example that stands out for testing those with Alzheimer's is connecting a person's name to their face.

The two pieces of info (face and name) are stored in different parts of the brain, but the hippocampus "binds" them so you can remember someone's name when you see them.

In this study, the researchers showed participants in 3 groups (young adults, healthy older adults and older adults with mild Alzheimer's) were shown a circle divided into 3 parts. Each part had a unique design (similar to face/name binding). They had the participants study the circle then choose from a seris of 10 circles to find the exact match.

As was expected, the young adults did the best. Then the healthy older adults. Last were the adults with mild Alzheimer's.

Here's what I read:

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