By Mary Brophy Marcus, USA TODAY
Falling may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s, according to new research.
Older people whose brain scans showed signs of amyloid — an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease — but who were otherwise healthy, had twice the risk of falls as people without brain amyloid, found a study being presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association‘s annual International Conference in Paris.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify a risk of increased falls related to a diagnosis of pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease,” says Susan Stark, an assistant professor of occupational therapy and neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. She says the results are consistent with other studies that show mobility problems in people who have very early Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment.
“It suggests that higher rates of falls can occur very early in the disease process,” says Stark.