Navigation Problems in New Places May Hint at Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease

Navigation Problems in New Places May Hint at Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease
Washington University researchers suggest that difficulties in establishing cognitive maps of new surroundings might indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease long before a clinical diagnosis. The findings suggest that navigational tasks can be a powerful new tool for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease-related changes. The research paper, “Spatial Navigation in Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease,” was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Previous studies have demonstrated that navigational deficits are characteristic of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Researchers theorize these deficits may be associated with hallmarks of the disease, namely amyloid beta plaque build-up and tau protein abnormalities, and also shrinkage in certain brain areas such as the hippocampus, a brain region associated with long-term memory storage, recognition of new surroundings, and the creation of cognitive maps. Despite the comprehensive documentation of such deficits, navigational abilities in preclinical Alzheimer’s have not been examined. Researchers evaluated spatial navigation performance consisting of route-learning and cognitive map building, using a virtual maze navigation experiment. The assessment was performed in three different groups of individuals: 42 people without preclinical AD (clinically normal), 13 people clinically normal with preclinical AD, and 16 patients with early-stage symptomatic AD. The groups were determined through a biomarker test of cerebrospinal fluid, and preclinical Alzheimer’s was defined based on amy
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *