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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky Professor Leads Study on Self-Reported Memory Complaints

New research, led by Dr. Richard Kryscio, chair of the biostatistics department in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UK, indicates that self-reported memory complaints are compelling predictors of clinical memory impairment later in life.

Kentucky’s Kryscio Leads Study on Self-Reported Memory Complaints

In the study, which was published in the September 24 online issue of Neurology and was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Dr. Kryscio and his group of researchers worked with a group of 531 individuals with an average age of 73, all of whom were free of dementia. They asked the participants whether they had noticed any changes in their memory over the prior year, and gave each an annual memory and thinking test for a period of, on average, 10 years. They then performed an examination, upon death, of each participant’s brain for evidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study found that participants who reported memory changes during the study were almost three times more likely to develop thinking and memory problems in later years.  The research found that 56 percent of the participants reported memory changes, at an average age of 82.  Those who reported changes in memory were almost three times more likely to develop thinking and memory problem in later year. Close to one in six participants in the study developed dementia during the research period, and of those, 80 percent reported memory changes prior to dementia development.

“What’s notable about our study is the time it took for the transition from self-reported memory complaint to dementia or clinical impairment – about 12 years for dementia and nine years for clinical impairment – after the memory complaint began,” stated Dr. Kryscio. “That suggests that there may be a significant window of opportunity for intervention before a diagnosable problem shows up.”

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