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Alzheimer’s symptoms may show 18 years prior to diagnosis

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, according to a study performed by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, by taking memory and thinking exams, we may be able to decipher whether or not we or our loved ones are susceptible to the heartbreaking disease.

The experiment followed testing of over 2,000 people aged an average of 73 years old who did not have Alzheimer’s upon the beginning of the study. These people were then tested every three years over a span of 20 years. Those who scored poorly on said tests had a greater chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Author of the study, published in Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology, Kumar B. Rajan, Ph.D., tells Newser, “The changes in thinking and memory that precede obvious symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin decades before.” Of course, these results should be interpreted generally.

More: Why young people need to worry about Alzheimer’s disease

My uncle was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about four years ago. There had been signs, but if you knew him before the disease took over, you would never had paired the two together.

He was a thinking man. Extremely intelligent, he could talk fluently on a range of subjects from sports to politics. He was also a busy person, always on the go. Everything that could be done to prevent mental illness, my uncle did to a tee. Unfortunately, this disease does not play favorites, and took him for its own. Every day he meets someone new, and though his mind is elsewhere, we love him a little harder in return.

According to Time, Rajan’s next plan of action is to “study whether brain-stimulating activities like crossword puzzles or learning a new language and social interactions can improve the test scores,” ultimately resulting in the possible prolonging of the neurodegenerative condition’s development.

More: Brain games: A great defense against Alzheimer’s

While Alzheimer’s disease still stands as one of life’s mysteries, progress is progress. There is comfort to be found in those who continuously strive to find an answer and cure.

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