While we’re on the subject of brain health this week, I want to share another new study that really piqued my interest.
If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while now, then you may have noticed that I spend a lot of time writing about memory loss—and more specifically, Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is of the most devastating forms of dementia—and the threat of it frightens all of us.
But now, this latest discovery may give us something more to worry about, at an ever younger age…
Atypical AD strikes younger
It seems that scientists have identified a new subtype of AD that’s distinguished by a different main feature than memory loss.
This research appeared recently in the journal Brain Communications. And it describes “progressive dysexecutive syndrome”—a condition marked by impaired executive function. (Which is just a fancy term for problems with tasks like organizing and planning.)
The goal of this study was to figure out exactly what was going on in a set of younger patients with executive function problems. And ultimately, it delivered a detailed description of 55 different cases of this atypical form of AD.
In contrast to typical AD, which tends to appear later in life, this subtype of AD can show up in people as early as their 40s. And the clinical profile reaches way beyond the memory problems we usually associate with the debilitating disease.
Rather, researchers identified issues with working memory (the short-term memory we use for reasoning and decision-making)—as well as problems with multi-tasking, task completion, and sequencing.
And because this condition primarily erodes executive cognitive function—and doesn’t affect the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain regular AD targets—most doctors haven’t recognized the condition or diagnosed it soon enough.
But now, apparently, it’s popping up in a lot of people in their 40s and 50s. And hopefully, now that we know what to look for, these atypical patients can start getting the treatment they need.
A PET scan tells the tale
Just to be clear, this new subtype of AD didn’t just appear out of thin air. It’s just that now, there’s a clear case definition for clinicians to consult. And that’s important to note, because a lot of these patients were likely misdiagnosed with psychiatric problems at first.
They may have even spent years going from doctor to doctor, struggling in their daily life and having a hard time holding down their job, before eventually getting a diagnosis.
After all, the brain is so complex, and we still know so little about it. But we do know this… there are three criteria for positively identifying AD:
- We look for amyloid and tau biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid.
- We look for these same biomarkers in PET scans.
- We look for evidence of these biomarkers during autopsy.
In this new study, every single case checked at least one of these boxes.
Now, I don’t want you to be alarmed if you’ve been a little scatterbrained lately—especially with all that’s going on in the world. (I coined the term “COVID brain” for a reason!)
But if you’re feeling scatterbrained more often than not, and are struggling with daily tasks and decision-making, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for a PET scan of your brain. (An MRI won’t do the trick here. But a PET scan will almost always be abnormal in cases of AD—proving that your symptoms are not merely the result of a psychiatric disorder or occasional forgetfulness.)
I also encourage you to check out my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan. This online, comprehensive protocol outlines an all-natural plan to protect and restore memory, strengthen focus, and fight dementia. And unlike the few conventional options for treatment out there today, it actually works. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now.
“In Alzheimer’s Disease, It’s Not Always Memory That Goes.” Medscape Medical News, 07/10/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/933537)