US research compiled by the University of Alabama in Birmingham studied 87 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 25 of whom developed Alzheimer-type dementia during the study period and 62 who did not. These patients were then compared with 76 healthy patients who had never experienced memory problems.
The study measured the participant’s financial skills over the period of a year and this included tasks such as understanding a bank statements, balancing cheque books, bill paying and preparation and counting currency and coins.
Tested at the beginning of the study and then again one year later the study found that the 25 patients who progressed to Alzheimer’s disease, showed a 6% decline in their ability to deal with financial situations and money.
Dr Susanne Sorenson, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, agreed that this could be a useful indicator for doctors and that if you already experience significant memory problems and start to notice a decline in your financial skills it could be a sign of developing dementia.