This is what Alzheimer's patients forget first

What do Alzheimer's patients forget first? We often think of personal memories or the names of loved ones, but according to scientists, it's something else.

This is what Alzheimer's patients forget first

What do Alzheimer's patients forget first? We often think of personal memories or the names of loved ones, but according to scientists, it's something else.

In France, 8% of people over 65 suffer from Alzheimer's disease, i.e. nearly a million people, and above all, it is estimated that there are on average 225,000 new cases diagnosed each year. In fact, the Overcoming Alzheimer's Foundation estimates that by 2050, the number of people affected by a neurocognitive disease is expected to reach more than 1.8 million people. This would therefore represent 9.6% of those over 65.

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative condition that primarily affects memory, but also other cognitive functions, such as language, reasoning, learning and social skills. It generally progresses towards a loss of autonomy. Its diagnosis can be made from the age of 60 and the risk increases with age and even more so if parents have had the disease. Once identified, it cannot be prevented, but certain medications can prevent symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.

It has also been shown that a certain lifestyle routine could limit the risk of contracting a neurocognitive disease. Practicing regular physical and brain activity, through sports and mental exercises, is crucial. You also need to give importance to sleep and interact with others as regularly as possible, because it is often those close to you who detect the first symptoms of Alzheimer's.

Very often, Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed when so-called "episodic" memory begins to decline, this is noted by memory lapses, difficulty finding words or accomplishing everyday tasks, such as paying bills, managing his money... Above all, we notice a change in behavior in the person. However, recent studies ultimately show that it is the so-called “semantic” memory that is affected first in the progression of the disease.

Before forgetting what relates to episodic memory, Alzheimer's patients would indeed begin to forget certain very banal things, such as the name of a very well-known logo, such as that of Apple, or Renault, or the name of someone famous, such as a historical figure, but also biographical elements of this celebrity. We even notice difficulty recognizing and naming an object based on a drawing. Don't worry though, memory lapses do exist. But they should not be minimized from a certain age.

Subsequently, Alzheimer's patients reach the moderate stage of the disease. In this sequence, damage is seen in areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, conscious thought, and sensory processing. Patients then have great difficulty detecting sounds and odors correctly. Finally, the last phase of the disease results in a contraction of brain tissue due to the appearance of plaques which spread throughout the brain. Patients can no longer communicate or move and are entirely dependent on others.

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