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AD may begin 20 years before symptoms appear.
Posted: Monday, June 29, 2015 8:28 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

Alzheimer’s May Begin 20 Years Before Symptoms Appear

168835256PASIEKA—Getty Images/Science Photo Library RM

The two decade mark is the earliest that scientists have placed the beginnings of the disease. The good news is that gives doctors a long window of time in which to slow down or reverse the condition

The latest breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research focus on the time well before patients even know they might have the neurodegenerative condition. Studies so far have found evidence that the biological processes that cause the mental decline may begin 10 to 12 years before people first notice signs of cognitive decline. But in the most recent report published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, experts say that the disease may actually begin even earlier — 18 years earlier, in fact — than they expected.

MORE: Mental and Social Activity Delays the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

For 18 years, Kumar Rajan, associate professor of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center, and his colleagues followed 2,125 elderly people with an average age of 73 and who did not dementia. Every three years, the researchers gave the volunteers mental skills tests, and then compared these results over time.

Posted: Monday, June 29, 2015 12:07 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

I did not understand what it was doctors were looking at as evidence of beginning of AD 20 years earlier. Was it on the scans?

When I made a huge life change at 40 and moved from California to Florida. Shortly after I started having odd problems which every one said was stress or depression. I was diagnosed as having MS and treated as if for 3 years. I thought it was from a spider bite (or tick bite?) that I developed neurological problems but since there was no help, I lived alone and I worked 6 days a week I just did a healthy living thing and quit seeking help for numbness, loss of sweat, and depth perception issues.

I don't know what it was but I remember becoming very anxious. At the time I was helping to care for my Dad as he had ALZ and 2 kids went through college with some financial help from me. I figured I was just worn out. But I do know I felt more vulnerable on many levels and used to feel I was "dying".

I had 5 MRI's and nobody ever mentioned anything until just before I was diagnosed.

Paul Hornback
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 7:16 AM
Joined: 8/9/2013
Posts: 584

I too noticed symptoms many years before my diagnosis. They were "Rumors of War" so to speak. It took me years to finally set down with my neurologist and have a serious chat. It was then that he order the MRIs and a PET Scan which showed Alz like changes in the brain.

I think if people would pay attention, they'd be able to see some of the changes taking place in their lives. But many are afraid of the possible diagnosis so they wait until it has progressed way too far.

God Bless, Paul

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 7:25 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

I started with language and word finding difficulties, and memory loss many years ago also. My neurologist disagrees that the issues started back then but he didn't experience it I did!
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 10:59 PM
Joined: 6/30/2015
Posts: 3

Paul, now that I have been dx with early onset alz I can look back and see s/s of it long before I started noticing signs and symptoms (s/s) that I had to get a answer for such as not being able to keep up at work, withdrawing from social gathering, impatience, frustrations, etc. As a RN it will be interesting to see what the future holds. I have started Nameda xr and Aricept and have had a lot of good help from this. It is easy for people to just say u are tired or depressed instead of looking deeply at the s/s or in my case I have RA rheumatoid arthritis. (As if the RA was not enough, god felt I could handle alz, he has a sense of humor u must admit.). Have a great day.Brenda