Cognitive decline assessments may predict life expectancy in Alzheimer’s patients

There are many unknowns that follow an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. But a new study suggests that assessments of cognitive decline may be a strong predictor of life expectancy.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, focused on 21 predictors of life expectancy in Alzheimer’s patients. The patients were over 50 and from many different demographics. Out of all 21 predictors, cognitive decline proved to be the strongest predictor of life expectancy.

ExploreResearch finds possible connection between sleep cycles and Alzheimer’s disease

“Life expectancy for patients with Alzheimer’s disease typically ranges from three to 12 years but can be longer in some cases.” author C. Munro Cullum, Ph.D., said in a press release.

“Families are anxious to know what to expect and how to best plan for the time ahead in terms of finances, family caregiving, and how they want to live out their lives. We’re trying to get them better answers.”

Additionally, the study found that individuals who were older, male, non-Hispanic with increased motor and psychiatric symptoms had comparatively shorter post-diagnosis life expectancies.

ExploreStudy shows computer program can reduce older adults’ hazardous driving

A 2004 study, meanwhile, found that on average, men lived approximately 4.2 years after their Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while women lived for 5.7 years after diagnosis. According to Healthline, treatments will not stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, that can sometimes delay the onset of some symptoms of the disease. Early diagnosis allows patients to be better prepared for their disease and allows for increased benefits from early treatments, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include experiencing difficulty in memory recall, difficulty in concentrating, confusion, losing spatial awareness, using poor judgment and changes in mood among other symptoms.

To get specialized news and articles about aging in place, health information and more, sign up for our Aging in Atlanta newsletter.