CLEVELAND, Ohio – According to new research from Cleveland Clinic, the rate of decline in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is slowed down in individuals who experience memory problems early on in the progression of the condition.

“What we found out was that people with early memory symptoms alone compared to people with say early language problems or visual-spatial problems, they tend to have a slightly slower disease progression in terms of their functional abilities,” said Jagan Pillai, MD, neurologist for Cleveland Clinic and lead author on the study.

Dr. Pillai said that a person with just memory difficulties would have ways of compensating and remaining functional, like taking records or writing notes. Memory is also located in a different part of the brain than language, so disease progression could also be different. 

“The portion of the brain that is first impacted by the disease tends to determine the symptoms that goes along with the disease and also the kind of progression from there to other regions,” said Dr. Pillai.

According to Dr. Pillai, this information may help in diagnosing patients and testing different medications for Alzheimer’s disease.