Researchers from an extensive study released the results and they suggest that Alzheimer’s risk can appear up to 18 years prior to the disease’s official diagnosis.

According to the scientists whose work was published in Neurology journal, they studied more than 2,000 people who averaged 73 years old.

These participants underwent a memory test along with some thinking skills. These exercises were given to them every three years for the past 18 years.

What the Scientists Discovered

The participants were of African-American descent and there were also others who were European-American. None of them had Alzheimer’s disease when the study first took place.

During the course of the research, more African-Americans developed Alzheimer’s than the European-Americans. When the researchers took a look at how they performed in the tests, they discovered that those who scoredlowestduring the first year had 10 times more risk of developing the mental disorder.

According to the study, the most telling period was between 13 and 18 years prior to the study’s completion. This means that the memory and thinking exams could predict one’s chances of developing the mental disorder can be predicted up to 18 years. The researchers associated every unit of lower test performance with an 85% increase in risk.

What the Results Indicate

The discovery gave way to understanding that Alzheimer’s can begin taking a toll on how people think way before what was previously believed. It may be due to the mental corrosion that is triggered by the disorder, which can appear decades before a diagnosis is performed on the patient.

See the difference between a healthy brain and one with Alzheimer's disease / PicHelp
See the difference between a healthy brain and one with Alzheimer’s disease / PicHelp

The focus on treatment that can help with the prevention of the disease should definitely move to an earlier time, so that saving the patient’s life can be probable. This is especially important if the patient has a family history of the mental disease.

It should be noted, however, that even though a person who has a lower score on the test does not completely mean that he or she would develop the disease. It merely denotes that the risk is higher than those who fare better in the test. Even so, this thinking challenge is a valuable tool in both preparing and treating dementia caused by Alzheimer’s.

According to the proponents of the study, prevention may even be possible. This is because the underlying processes of the development of Alzheimer’s disease may take a very long duration. If this is true, there could be a potential in preventing the mental condition.