UAB logoSupposedly if a person is unable to handle financial transactions or money, it might be a premature sign that the individual with mild memory problems soon may have a lot more chances to develop Alzheimer’s disease. This is claimed by a research from the University of Alabama at Brimingham (UAB) Alzheimer’s disease Center, part of the Department of Neurology.

This research apparently analyzed patients who were suffering from a condition called as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is believed to be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. About 87 people with MCI and around 76 people with no memory problems were followed by the researchers. The subject’s capability to handle particular financial skills was supposedly evaluated at the start of the research and then again a year later, via a UAB-developed tool known as the Financial Capacity Instrument (FCI). The abilities apparently incorporated understanding a bank statement, balancing a checkbook, paying bills, preparing bills for mailing and counting coins and currency.

During the year, about 25 of the MCI patients had supposedly advanced to Alzheimer’s disease. The overall FCI scores for those 25 subjects apparently dropped by around 6 percent from their original scores and there was about a 9 percent reduction in checkbook-management skills. The control group and those MCI patients who did not advance to dementia supposedly retained the level of their FCI scores all through the year.

Daniel Marson, Ph.D., JD, professor of neurology and director of the UAB Alzheimer’s Disease Center, commented, “Declining financial skills are detectable in patients with mild cognitive impairment in the year before their conversion to Alzheimer’s disease. This indicates that physicians and health-care providers need to watch patients with MCI closely for declining financial skills and advise families and caregivers to take steps to avoid negative financial events.”

Marson mentioned, “Financial capacity has emerged as a key activity of daily living in understanding functional impairment and decline in patients with MCI and dementia. The capacity to manage one’s own financial affairs is critical to success in independent living. Impairments in financial skills and judgment are often the first functional changes demonstrated by patients with incipient dementia.”

Marson is of the opinion that caregivers could keep an eye on a patient’s checking transactions, may get in touch with the patient’s bank to apparently spot irregularities like bills being paid two times or could become co-signers on a checking account so that joint signature may be needed for checks above a definite amount. Online banking and bill payment services are said to be supplementary alternatives for families.

These findings were published in the September edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.