Alzheimer’s could follow a fall, conference told

Falls and balance problems may be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris, in July. Researchers in Missouri recruited 119 volunteers, all of whom had normal cognition and were aged over 65 years. 

Brain scans showed that 18 participants had high levels of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. 

The other 101 volunteers had normal amyloid levels in the brain. Participants were given a journal and asked to note any falls. When they did, the researchers followed up with a questionnaire and a phone interview about the falls. 

Typically, about one in three adults aged 65 or older fall each year. But in the 18 participants with high amyloid levels in the brain, two-thirds fell within the first eight months of the study. High levels of amyloid in the brain were the best predictor of an