Difficulty distinguishing novel objects is associated with family history of Alzheimer’s disease.
Unique graphic characters called Greebles may prove to be valuable tools in detecting signs of Alzheimer’s disease decades before symptoms become apparent.
In an article published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Emily Mason, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville, reported research showing that cognitively normal people who have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have more difficulty distinguishing among novel figures called Greebles than individuals without genetic predisposition.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, irreversible neurodegenerative disease characterized by declining memory, cognition and behavior. AD is the most prevalent form of dementia, affecting an estimated 5.5 million individuals in the United States and accounting for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. The ability to detect the disease earlier may allow researchers to develop treatments to combat the disease.
“Right now, by the time we can detect the disease, it would be very difficult to restore function because so much damage has been done to the brain,” Mason said. “We want to be able to look at really early, really subtle changes that are going on in the brain. One way we can do that is with cognitive testing that is directed at a very specific area of the brain.”