Rebecca Amariglio, Ph.D.
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc.
Boston, MA - United States
A growing number of studies indicate that Alzheimer's disease begins long before clinical symptoms appear. This "preclinical phase" of Alzheimer's likely involves several stages. First, biomarkers such as the protein fragment beta-amyloid accumulate in the brain. These accumulations are followed by brain cell degeneration and, ultimately, subtle cognitive changes. Yet cognitive problems—and the awareness of those problems—may occur earlier in preclinical Alzheimer's than is currently believed.
Rebecca Amariglio, Ph.D., and colleagues will assess the role of subjective cognitive complaints (SCCs)—a person's assessment of his/her own memory, attention, reasoning and decision-making skills—in Alzheimer's risk. Using data from people with preclinical Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (another stage of Alzheimer's that precedes dementia), the researchers hope to identify when and how often such people make complaints about their own cognitive health. They will also characterize the pattern of early SCCs made by relatives and other "informants" of those individuals. In addition, the team will examine whether certain patterns of SCCs can predict later functional and cognitive decline, and whether those patterns are linked with biomarker evidence of Alzheimer's. Dr. Amariglio's effort could identify SCCs as a key behavioral risk factor in preclinical dementia.
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