Several aspects related to cognitive abilities seem to be related with Alzheimer’s disease. Elderly people who appear to experience ‘mental lapses’ or at times when their thoughts seem disordered or irrational or when they gape into space, may have more chances to develop Alzheimer’s disease as compared to people who do not undergo these lapses. At least this is what a study claims.

These mental lapses, also known as cognitive fluctuations, are said to be quite widespread in a kind of dementia known as dementia with Lewy bodies. But study authors formerly did not comprehend as to how often they took place in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. One of the other significant aspects is what consequence fluctuations might have on their thinking capabilities or evaluation scores.

“When older people are evaluated for problems with their thinking and memory, doctors should consider also assessing them for these mental lapses,” commented Senior study author James E. Galvin, MD, MPH, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who is a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study comprised of around 511 individuals with an average age of 78. The study authors questioned the subject and a family member, assessed the participants for dementia and examined their memory and thinking abilities.

It was seen that individuals with three or four of the following symptoms seem to have matched the requirements for having mental lapses. One of the symptom is feeling sleepy or sluggish constantly or numerous times per day in spite of receiving adequate sleep the night before. The other is sleeping for two or more hours prior to 7 p.m. A person’s flow of thought appearing disordered, blurred or illogical is one of the symptoms. The last is if a person keeps on staring into space for extended durations.

A sum of 12 percent of individuals with dementia in the study apparently suffered from mental lapses. Of 216 people having extremely mild or mild dementia, around 25 were with mental lapses. Of the 295 people with no dementia, apparently only two suffered from mental lapses.

Those with mental lapses seemed to have 4.6 times more chances to be with dementia as compared to those devoid of mental lapses. People having mental lapses are apparently also inclined to suffer from more acute Alzheimer’s symptoms and function worse on exams of memory and thinking capabilities as opposed to people who did not have lapses.

The study was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.