Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Memory Worries May Be Early Sign of Alzheimer's

Although studies didn't prove connection, expert says concerns are worth mentioning to a doctor

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who notice new problems with balancing the checkbook or reading the newspaper may be at increased risk of dementia in the coming years, according to four new studies.

The research, being presented this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston, suggests that older adults' concerns about their memory could serve as an early warning sign of future dementia.

That may not sound surprising. But it has not been clear whether people's subjective perceptions of memory slips are a reliable predictor of more-severe problems down the road.

Older adults who complain of memory issues, but test "normal" on standard cognitive (thinking) tests, have often been dismissed as the "worried well," said Rebecca Amariglio, a neuropsychologist with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who led one of the new studies.

Her team found evidence that older adults' concerns may be more significant.

The study included 131 adults who were 73 years old, on average, and had normal scores on formal tests of memory and thinking. To get at the participants' subjective perceptions, the researchers gave them a separate, detailed questionnaire that asked them to rate any problems they had with everyday tasks, like remembering things they've just read or been told. It also asked them how well they thought their mental skills measured up compared with a decade ago.

Next, the researchers used PET scans to image participants' brains.

It turned out that people with bigger subjective concerns about their mental sharpness had a higher level of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain. Beta-amyloid buildup is considered a risk factor for Alzheimer's.

It's not known yet whether the study participants who were worried about their memories actually face a greater Alzheimer's risk, Amariglio said.

She also stressed that older adults need not be alarmed by the "senior moments" that crop up as you age -- like walking into a room and forgetting why you went there, or having trouble remembering an unfamiliar person's name.

An expert not involved in the study agreed.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing