Patients who claim to suffer memory loss may in fact be experiencing the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and may come to suffer from clinical memory impairment years later, according to a recent research conducted at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. The study confirmed the importance of self-reports from patients as a potential early indicator of the development of the disease, which can help physicians intervene years before the symptoms of the disease appear. The study, led by Richard Kryscio, PhD, chairman of the department of Biostatistics and associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the University of Kentucky, analyzed the reports of 531 people with an average age of 73 without dementia, in which they were asked to identify any changes in their memory observed the year before. The scientists also conducted annual memory and thinking tests over the course of ten years and analyzed the patients' brains after their deaths. The researchers concluded that the 56% of the patients who reported memory loss, at an average age of 82, were nearly three times more likely to suffer from memory and thinking problems than the ones who didn't report any changes. One in each six patients enrolled in the study developed dementia, and 80 percent of them had reported memory losses.