Neurologists discover why people with dementia are unaware of memory loss

Neurologists discover why people with dementia are unaware of memory loss
Neurologists discover why people with dementia are unaware of memory loss

It is a sad but true fact that people that develop dementia become less aware of their loss of memory as their dementia progresses. Dr. Robert S. Wilson with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has found the physical causes that make people that develop dementia unaware of their memory loss for the first time.

This is the first examination of the progress of dementia that began with people that had no signs of dementia when the study started. The 2,092 participants were tracked for 10 years with annual assessments of their memory with tests. The participants also reported a self-analysis of their own memory on an annual basis.

The 239 people diagnosed with dementia during the study began to lose awareness of their loss of memory at 2.6 years on average after they were diagnosed with dementia. The average age of the participants was 76 years of age. The study found that people that developed dementia earlier in life became unaware of their decline in memory more rapidly than older people that developed dementia.

The brains of the 385 participants that died during and developed dementia before their deaths were examined for chemical and physical changes that may promote a loss of the ability to determine that one’s memory is declining. An increase in tau proteins, obstruction of blood supply to the brain, and changes in the protein TDP-43 (transactive response DNA binding protein 43 kDa) were the most common causes of the lack of the ability to know that one’s memory is declining. The study may lead to treatments that at least make a person more aware of their decline in memory due to dementia.

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