Memory Problems Give Clues to Alzheimer's Risk Factors

Article excerpt

Memory problems that are noticeable but not severe enough to interfere with daily living are receiving increased attention from scientists around the world who study Alzheimer's disease.

Research from six countries on mild cognitive decline (MCI), sometimes a precursor to Alzheimer's, was presented Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris. The studies -- from the United States, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and France -- offer a broader picture of prevalence worldwide and which people with the condition are more likely to progress to Alzheimer's, says author Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minn.

"In general, the studies are saying the same thing, that the condition of MCI is common, and in aging societies around the globe that's a big deal," Petersen says. The six studies, each with 1,000 to 12,000 participants, were conducted separately but presented together at the conference; findings indicate MCI is common in industrialized countries, where it affects between 15 percent and 42 percent of the population, he says.

The research also brings to light factors linked to MCI:

In the U. …