Friday, January 06, 2012

Memory loss beginning at age 45

A team of researchers found a modest deterioration in mental reasoning in men and women aged 45 to 49 years


Memory loss and other brain functions may begin at age 45, which implies a great challenge for scientists seeking new ways to stop the progression of dementia in the population, researchers said.

The finding of a study of 10-year at more than 7 000 state workers in Britain contradicts previous theories that cognitive decline does not start before 60 years and could have far-reaching implications in dementia research .

Detecting the age at which they begin to deteriorate memory, reasoning and comprehension skills is important because the drugs work as they are administered to individuals as they begin to experience mental decline.

A handful of new medicines for Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, are undergoing clinical trials, but expectations are low and some experts fear that new drugs are being tested in patients too old to show benefits.

Among the companies developing such drugs include Eli Lilly, who is working on a drug called solanezumab, and Elan and Johnson & Johnson, which is developing bapineuzumab.

The team of researchers led by Archana Singh-Manoux, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health of France and the University College London, found a modest deterioration in mental reasoning in men and women aged 45 to 49 years.

"From previous research we expected not to see deterioration," Singh-Manoux said in a telephone interview.

Among the older subjects of the study, the average deterioration in cognitive function was higher, but there was wide variation in all ages. One third of individuals 45 to 70 years showed no deterioration during the study period.

"It does not happen suddenly when you get older. This variability exists much earlier," Singh-Manoux said. "The next step is (...) seek relationships with risk factors," said

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