Latest News » 2 behavior changes that may be red flags for Alzheimer’s

Depression was found to be a common symptom associated with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, according to a new study.

Depression was found to be a common symptom associated with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, according to a new study.

As more Americans continue to grow into old age, the number of elderly grappling with dementia and Alzheimer's disease will unfortunately grow too. While scientists remain feverishly committed to finding a cure to any and all of these declining brain health conditions, the fact remains that there isn't one yet, meaning the best way that patients and their families can pursue the most effective methods of treatment is to identify the telltale signs as early as possible.

A new study published in the journal Neurology sought out to accomplish exactly that. Surveying 2,400 healthy adults, each one over the age of 50, the researchers assessed their subjects' physical and mental health for seven years to pinpoint some of the obvious and less-than-obvious warning signs of Alzheimer's disease. While failing memory support is a common symptom associated with dementia, the study found these other red flags that middle-aged people and seniors should keep an eye out for:

  • Changing taste buds: "Big shifts in the kinds of foods you crave — especially a newfound preference for sweets — is another early warning sign," writes Prevention Magazine. "The researchers say disease-related changes to the parts of your brain that control your taste buds and appetite may explain their findings. Some of the dementia sufferers in their study were known to eat expired or rotten food."
  • Depression: The study's participants who would eventually exhibit signs of dementia during the seven-year research period were reportedly "twice as likely to […] feeling depressed at the start of the study," long before any memory loss began to present itself. However, the verdict is still out on whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between Alzheimer's and depression, or if they both just share the same root cause — 15 percent of participants who didn't suffer from dementia still ended up showing signs of depression at the beginning of the study.

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