Beginning and End: Prediction of Cognitive Decline with Memory Tests

I wrote this blurb for fun to “celebrate” our latest accepted article. It includes an interview to myself 🙂

Failure to remember words at the beginning and at the end of a list may signal risk of future cognitive decline and dementia, researchers have found.

In a paper to appear in International Psychogeriatrics, a team of dementia researchers, including from Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison, report that when adults over the age of fifty remember items learned towards the end of a list well, only to forget them after a break, presented a high risk up to 12 years later of mild cognitive impairment, a condition thought to pre-date Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also observed that failing to remember words presented at the beginning of the list, 15-20 minutes after learning them, led to a similar prediction.

“These findings”, says Dr Davide Bruno from John Moores University, the lead author on the paper, “confirm the importance of using accurate measures of memory ability to screen early on individuals who may be at risk of dementia, particularly for Alzheimer’s disease. The advantage of memory screening”, Dr Bruno adds, “is that it can be done relatively cheaply, but they can still be accurate enough to tell us what may be happening a few years down the line”.

Photo unrelated (by wife).


Posted in Aging, Brain Damage, Cognition, Dementia, Memory, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Does the way you use your computer predict whether you will have dementia?

Look at that editorialized title!

I have recently co-authored a paper on this very topic, where we looked at types of computer use that are most likely to be associated with cognitive decline and dementia.

Here is a link to it.

Posted in Aging, Cognition, Dementia, Memory, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Heading for Trouble

Our editorial (previously teased) on CTE risks associated with playing football (soccer) is now out on the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It is open access and here.

In other news, I was recently at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, where I presented a poster on memory loss in late-life depression. The most exciting finding, from my memory-obsessed perspective, is that the recency ratio (also here) does a great job of picking up subtle changes in biomarkers levels in individuals who show no cognitive impairment whatsoever, despite being depressed.

Poster and some more fluff AAIC 17 handout.

Posted in Aging, Brain Damage, Cognition, Dementia, Depression, Football, Memory, Psychology, Soccer | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Dementia Showcase

On Wednesday last week (May 17), I gave a presentation at the Salford University Dementia Showcase to highlight the work we are doing at LJMU around dementia. It was a fun little conference, and I got to speak to some lovely people.

Here’s my talk:

LJMU Dementia Showcase


Posted in Aging, Brain Damage, Cognition, Dementia, Depression, Football, Memory, Psychology, Soccer | Tagged , ,

University of the Year

Liverpool John Moores University won University of the year at Educate North Awards. Story here.


In other news, I need more sleep.

Posted in Uncategorized

Alzheimer’s Research UK North West Public Engagement event, May 17 2017, Salford

Has dementia had an impact on your life? Would you like to learn more about local dementia research, support services and charities?

Join us at the University of Salford for a family friendly afternoon of lab tours, interactive sessions, exhibitions, performances and workshops.

More information in the link below.

ARUK Public Poster with Eventbrite link

Posted in Aging, Dementia, Memory | Tagged

Recency ratio and Glutamate

Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, and is thought to be involved in the process of memory encoding and storage. Glutamate disturbances have also been reported in psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (MDD), and in Alzheimer’s disease. In this paper, we set out to study the relationship between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glutamate levels and memory performance, which we believe has not been reported previously. In particular, we focused on recall performance broken down by serial position. Our prediction was that the recency ratio (Rr), a novel cognitive marker of intellectual impairment, would be linked with CSF glutamate levels. We studied data from a group of cognitively intact elderly individuals, 28 of whom had MDD, while 19 were controls. Study results indicated that Rr levels, but no other memory score, were inversely correlated with CSF glutamate levels, although this was found only in individuals with late-life MDD. For comparison, glutamine or GABA were not correlated with any memory performance measure.

Paper here.


Posted in Aging, Cognition, Depression, Memory, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , ,