Researchers have been engaged in finding a cure and a way to manage Alzheimer’s Disease for decades. This debilitating disease steals people from their families and robs them of their memories. But new research is suggesting there is an early warning sign, and this is great news for all of us.
A new study from a team at Brigham & Women’s Hospital – and published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, indicates that anxiety may very well be a precursor to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This allows physicians a better chance for successful early interventions in treating the condition.
Today, extensive damage has already been done in a person’s brain when the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is established. The beginning of the condition can sometimes have started decades, even 20 years, before the diagnosis.
The most common red-flag sign of Alzheimer’s is considered by medical researchers to be depression. So a team at Brigham & Women’s Hospital explored specific symptoms of depression that included apathy, sadness, loss of interest and anxiety.
What they found was a significant correlation between increasing anxious-depressive symptoms and Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
“This suggests that anxiety symptoms could be a manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease prior to the onset of cognitive impairment,” explains first author on the study, Nancy Donovan. “If further research substantiates anxiety as an early indicator, it would be important for not only identifying people early on with the disease but also, treating it and potentially slowing or preventing the disease process early on.”
While there is much more research needed to establish a direct correlation between increased levels of anxiety and Alzheimer’s, this indicator could very well help physicians diagnose instances of Alzheimer’s earlier, thus giving those afflicted with the condition a fighting chance.
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