Health & Wellbeing

The four secret signs of Alzheimer’s

New study reveals how you write could be a hidden signal

Memory loss is often regarded as the most looked for symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but a new study warns this isn’t the case. 

Failing to spot the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s is one of the main reasons for late diagnosis, and for the same reason, few people with less obvious symptoms of the disease are involved in crucial clinical trials. 

Now, the latest research from Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Centre is determined change our preconceptions.

Dr Emily Rogalski, a researcher at the centre, said: ‘We wanted to describe these individuals to raise awareness about the early clinical and brain features of PPA [primary progressive aphasia] to develop metrics which would advocate for their inclusion in clinical trials targeting Alzheimer’s disease.’

‘These individuals are often excluded because they don’t have memory deficits, but they share the same disease [Alzheimer’s] that’s causing their symptoms,’ Dr Rogalski continued. 

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Here are some key markers of early onset Alzheimer’s that may not be immediately recognised as symptoms:

Confidence

Believe it or not a lack of inhibitions has been known to be an early symptom of the degenerative disease. Dr Rogalski said, ‘Someone who was very shy may go up to grocery store clerk—who is a stranger—and try to give her a hug or kiss.’ 

Language

Patients may have slow or halting speech, decreased vocabulary, and misuse of words. Sometimes someone’s slip of the tongue is often ignored as a ‘silly’ mistake, but this is one of the most common early signs of degenerative disease. 

Difficulty writing

If a person who has never previously shown issues with their wording suddenly starts to find it difficult or are slightly struggling, this can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s that is commonly missed.

Difficulty reading

It can become difficult to follow sentences through to the end, or to digest a full paragraph. This symptom is often overlooked as people often don’t share their concerns with family members or doctors, letting the condition worsen over time. 

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