Malpractice News

July 8, 2013

Number of falls may help predict Alzheimer’s incidence

Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are slow to appear, but new research may have uncovered one way to predict where it might strike next. In a report published in Neurology, researchers said, “Cognitively normal older adults with evidence of early brain changes typical of Alzheimer’s disease fell more often that did their peers without these brain changes.”

Volunteers record their falls

The study looked at 125 people over the age of 65 and recorded how often they fell over the course of a single year. Most of the participants were white women, and they were asked to record their falls in a journal-like calendar. The number of falls per person ranged from 0 to 12 and most happened while the person was walking.

Brain scans look for biomarkers

Also during the year, the volunteers received regular brain imaging scans to look for the biomarkers that often forecast Alzheimer’s disease. After adjusting their results to take into account the type of daily activities the participants were involved in, researchers found that “participants with biomarkers indicating greater risk for Alzheimer’s were more likely to fall and to fall sooner, compared with those with less biomarker evidence.”

Further research required

These results should now prompt further research into exactly how the number of falls a person experiences might play into their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This study also confirms that “movement changes precede cognitive changes in people with very early signs of Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment.”


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