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Could anxiety be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease?

ANI  |  Washington D.C. [USA] 

According to a recent study, may be an early indicator of in older adults.

The findings support the hypothesis that neuropsychiatric symptoms could represent the early manifestation of in them.

is a neurodegenerative condition that causes the decline of cognitive function and the inability to carry out daily life activities.

Past studies have suggested and other neuropsychiatric symptoms may be predictors of AD's progression during its "preclinical" phase, during which time brain of fibrillar amyloid and pathological tau accumulate in a patient's brain.

This phase can occur more than a decade before a patient's onset of Investigators at Brigham and examined the association of brain amyloid beta and longitudinal measures of and depressive symptoms in cognitively normal, older adults.

Their findings suggest that higher levels of amyloid beta may be associated with increasing symptoms of in these individuals. These results support the theory that neuropsychiatric symptoms could be an early indicator of AD.

"Rather than just looking at as a total score, we looked at specific symptoms such as When compared to other symptoms of such as sadness or loss of interest, symptoms increased over time in those with higher amyloid beta levels in the brain," said

"This suggests that symptoms could be a manifestation of prior to the onset of If further research substantiates as an early indicator, it would be important for not only identifying people early on with the disease, but also, treating it and potentially slowing or preventing the process early on."

As is common in older people, rising symptoms may prove to be most useful as a risk marker in older adults with other genetic, biological or clinical indicators of high AD risk.

Researchers derived data from the Aging Brain Study, an observational study of older adult volunteers aimed at defining neurobiological and clinical changes in early

The participants included 270 community dwelling, cognitively normal men and women, between 62 and 90 years old, with no Individuals also underwent baseline imaging scans commonly used in studies of Alzheimer's disease, and annual assessments with the 30-item Geriatric Scale (GDS), an assessment used to detect in older adults.

The team calculated total GDS scores as well as scores for three clusters symptoms of depression: apathy-anhedonia, dysphoria, and These scores were looked at over a span of five years.

From their research, the team found that higher brain amyloid beta burden was associated with increasing symptoms over time in cognitively normal older adults.

The results suggest that worsening anxious-depressive symptoms may be an early predictor of elevated amyloid beta levels - and, in turn AD -- and provide support for the hypothesis that emerging neuropsychiatric symptoms represent an early manifestation of preclinical

Donovan notes further longitudinal follow-up is needed to determine whether these escalating depressive symptoms give rise to and stages of over time.

The study has been published in The American Journal of

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 13 2018. 13:35 IST