Dec 27, 2020
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Billing confusion may be a symptom of approaching Alzheimer’s

The American National Institute of Aging points out that in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person is still able to pay their bills. However, more complex operations (for example, balancing) can be difficult for him. New research shows that in the years before a diagnosis, people can have a variety of difficulties in handling money, including paying bills.

Scientists analyzed data on more than 80,000 older Americans who were living independently and using Medicare health insurance. They compared this data with reports on their payments and loans.

During the study, dementia developed in about 27 thousand study participants. On average, six years before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, people were 5.2% more likely to delay payments, and nine months after diagnosis, they were 17.9% more likely than people without dementia. In addition, they were much more likely to have a negative credit rating. About 80% of late payments were related to credit cards.

The “financial symptoms” of Alzheimer’s disease were more pronounced in people with a lower level of education, they began to appear seven years before the diagnosis. People with higher education usually began to get confused with payments later – two and a half years before the full picture of the disease.

The study authors compared the difficulty of handling money in patients with Alzheimer’s and other diseases. It turned out that dementia has unique patterns of impairment that distinguish it from, for example, the “financial symptoms” of visual impairment. So, before the diagnosis of glaucoma is established, people usually do not have difficulty handling money.

Scientists believe their research data provides another tool for early detection of people with Alzheimer’s.

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