This is normal, but at some point it could indicate the early stages of a real problem," said Len Lecci, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
noted that most family doctors aren't trained to detect memory loss in their patients.This is supported by the most recent Surgeon General report which showed that fewer than 3 percent of cases with mild to moderate dementia and less than 25 percent of those with severe dementia are detected by their physicians.
"Your odds are almost like winning a lottery if early signs of memory loss are noticed by a family physician," Lecci
explained that the only way to determine if memory is declining is by doing a baseline assessment and taking follow-up tests.He
compared it to tracking a hurricane - measuring more than once is the only way to document movement (change) and the more points of reference one has the better one can project the future track it will take.Lecci
also pointed out that a particular challenge is detecting memory problems in people who start out with above-average memory.
"It's when your memory is fine," Lecci
emphasized.Early assessment is critical because medications are available to prevent further memory loss, but nothing is available to recover memory once it is lost.
"There are centers, and doctors, who do memory assessments or work with people already suffering severe memory loss.But the goal of MARS is to target a different group; those who do not currently think they have a memory problem," Lecci
"The idea of a regular memory check-up may sound new now, but that would have been the case for mammograms or prostate exams years ago," Lecci