A study claims that memory and thinking skills could reduce swiftly for people with mild cognitive impairment. This seems to be the stage prior to Alzheimer’s disease. This is the stage where people could suffer from having slight memory problems but no dementia symptoms.

The study included around 1,158 people living in Chicago with a standard age of 79. A sum of 149 subjects appeared to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, roughly 395 were with mild cognitive impairment, and around 614 seemed to have no thinking or memory problems.

“These results show that we need to pay attention to this time before Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed, when people are just starting to have problems forgetting things,” commented, study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Memory and thinking skills tests were apparently received by the volunteers at the start of the study and again every three years. People participated in the study for apparently an average of 5.5 years and up to 11 years.

The thinking skills of those with mild cognitive impairment seemed to drop down twice as quick every year as those who appeared to have no cognitive problems, while the skills of those with Alzheimer’s disease supposedly reduced four times as fast as opposed to those with no cognitive problems.

At the start of the study, scores on a global cognition test varied from an average of 0.5 for people having no thinking problems to 0.2 for people with mild cognitive impairment to -0.5 for people having Alzheimer’s disease. Scores seemingly reduced by 0.04 per year for those with no thinking issues, by 0.09 for those having mild cognitive impairment, and by 0.17 for those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

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