Compared with older people with no signs of Alzheimer’s, those whose brains show early signs of the disease are twice as likely to experience a fall, researchers have found.
In the new study, investigators looked at brain scans of 125 older adults who were participating in a study of memory and aging. The seniors were also asked to keep track of how many times they fell over the course of eight months.
An increased risk of falls was noted among individuals whose scans showed early signs of Alzheimer’s. The study authors suggested that falls could indicate the need for an evaluation for the memory-robbing disease.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify a risk of increased falls related to a diagnosis of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease,” study author Susan Stark, an assistant professor of occupational therapy and neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, said in a news release from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
“This finding is consistent with previous studies of mobility problems among persons with very early symptomatic Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment. It suggests that higher rates of falls can occur very early in the disease process,” Stark added.
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