MONDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Mild cognitive impairment --
marked by a loss in short-term memory in particular -- may be a
stronger predictor of Alzheimer's disease than so-called
"biomarkers," which include things such as changes in brain volume
or levels of certain proteins in cerebrospinal fluid, a new study
Spanish researchers looked at 116 people with mild cognitive
impairment (MCI) who developed Alzheimer's disease within two
years, 204 patients with the condition who didn't develop
Alzheimer's and 197 people with no cognitive problems.
Mild cognitive impairment is usually marked by difficulties with
short-term memory, such as losing your train of thought repeatedly
or having trouble remembering what you did yesterday. You may begin
to demonstrate uncharacteristically poor judgment or have trouble
finding your way around familiar places. Some people may also
develop depression or anxiety, or show signs of unusual irritation,
aggression or apathy.
People with MCI can generally recall events in the more distant
past in detail, however, and are usually able to reason, solve
problems and communicate well with others in spite of relatively
minor memory loss. In addition, not all cases of MCI progress to
Cerebrospinal fluid samples were collected from the participants
at the start of the study and at annual visits for two years. Blood
samples gathered at the start of the study were analyzed for genes
associated with Alzheimer's, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
was used to assess the participants' brain volume and cortical
The researchers found that two measures of delayed memory, along
with the cortical thickness of the left middle temporal lobe in the
brain, were associated with a higher risk of mild cognitive
impairment developing into Alzheimer's.
Mild cognitive impairment at the start of the study was a
stronger predictor of Alzheimer's than most biomarkers, the
The study appears in the September issue of the
Archives of General Psychiatry.
The Alzheimer's Association has more about
mild cognitive impairment.