Edinburgh researchers have discovered a multi-tasking test that can eliminate the confusion between the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s and depression.
Alzheimer’s and depression can be easily confused as sufferers of both illnesses have similar symptoms in the early stages. such as, personality changed and impaired memory.
The team from Edinburgh University led by professor Sergio Della Sala compared the multi-tasking ability of sufferers of Alzheimer’s, sufferers of chronic depression and that of healthy elderly people who have had no major memory problems in the past.
The findings revealed that those with Alzheimer’s performed significantly worse that the other groups tested. The findings were reported in the journal of neurology.
Elaine Harley the Dementia help line manger for Alzheimer Scotland explains the benefits of catching dementia at its early stages; “if dementia is caught early the sufferer can make future plans, legal issues, giving a loved one legal rights and just generally time to think about life and the future.” This can alleviate stress and anxiety for the sufferer and family involved.
Approximately 69’500 people have dementia in Scotland and around 2’300 of these people are under 65. In Edinburgh alone there are just over 6’000 people suffering from the illness.
It is important to spot the early signs of dementia as vital counselling and drugs can be administered. Elaine Harley explains these signs;”memory issues are the first sign, things like not being able to manage with everyday life, making decisions personality changes. A person who is very placid can become very agitated and angry or vice versa.”
Hopefully this innovative test will assist in an earlier diagnosis for people with this debilitating disease, making life easier for the sufferers and those around them.