How Doctors Can Use This Simple Test To Determine Your Alzheimer’s Risk

One of these things is not like the other. This common brainteaser can predict your risk for Alzheimer’s.

If you have ever worked a “find the one that’s different” puzzle in a brainteaser book, the latest potential test for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk may seem familiar to you.

A researcher from the department of neurological surgery at the University of Louisville reported that people with a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease who are cognitively normal have more difficulty differentiating between dissimilar objects called Greebles.

What are Greebles? A cognitive neuroscientist named Isabel Gauthier designed these novel objects to use as stimuli in psychological studies of face and object recognition.

Much like people, Greebles have body shapes and features that, while similar to those of others, make them unique.

In the University of Louisville study, test subjects viewed sets of four similar images, including human faces, real-world objects, scenes and Greebles.

In each grouping, one image was slightly different.

While all participants had the same level of success identifying dissimilar scenes, objects and faces, those who were genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease failed to identify the correct Greeble 22 percent of the time.

In contrast, the control group only missed 13 percent of the Greebles.

Although this test is not a definitive marker of the disease, it might be a useful tool in continuing diagnostic research.

There is no cure for AD, but early detection has numerous benefits, including the following:

1. Receiving The Best Care

Early detection gives patients time to explore treatment options, research healthcare providers and perhaps participate in clinical research trials, which can result in maintaining independence for a longer period of time.

2. Finding Support For Everyone Involved

Getting involved with support groups and other resources can help people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their families better prepare for and deal with symptoms before they intensify.

3. Planning For The Future

Early detection provides more time for patients to participate in choosing care, living arrangements and financial matters.

4. Possible Prevention

As research continues, preventive measures such as vaccines and disease-modifying drugs may become available. Knowing you are predisposed to Alzheimer’s disese could possibly save your life.

(In case you were wondering, Greeble No. 4 is different in the picture at the top of the page.)