Latest News » 3 more early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Hoarding stacks of unread newspapers can be a warning sign for early onset dementia.

While most people may generally think of Alzheimer's disease as a condition for the elderly, early onset Alzheimer's afflicts millions of Americans in their 40s and 50s each year. And as the Baby Boomer generation continues to grow older, the sheer volume of patients struggling with dementia will inevitably increase as well, making it all the more important to keep an eye out for some of the warning signs ahead of time.

While memory loss is a major red flag of deteriorating brain health, it's far from the only one — and many of the red flags of early Alzheimer's are not as obvious. As we noted in an earlier blog post, two of those warning signs include depression and changing taste buds. Courtesy of Prevention Magazine, here are three others to be aware of:

  • Hoarding: A study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, links compulsive "packrat" behavior like hoarding to dementia. While many of us may have a tendency to hold onto sentimental items from our past, collecting stacks of newspapers without ever reading them, to cite one example, is a type of behavior that could be an indicator for dementia.
  • Mild, but regular, criminal activity: According to research published in JAMA Neurology, about 14 percent of those who suffer from frontotemporal dementia (FTD) begin exhibiting signs of criminal behavior — such as breaking traffic laws, shoplifting and trespassing on private property — ahead of the disease. These lapses in judgment have been explained as the consequence of the part of the brain that governs "social rules and conventions" coming under attack from FTD.
  • No sense of sarcasm: "An inability to detect lies, sarcasm and other forms of 'insincere speech' is another early symptom, suggests research from the University of California, San Francisco," writes Prevention. "The study authors say the disease messes with parts of your brain that spot and interpret 'higher-order' verbal information."

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