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What are the early signs and symptoms of AD?

The ability to store new experiences and learn new information is affected first in Alzheimer disease. The earliest signs may be difficult to distinguish from slowing associated with the normal aging process. Even in the best of circumstances, human memory is limited and imperfect. We only remember things that we notice and pay attention to, which is only a fraction of what is taking place around us. We choose to pay attention to things that are personally important to us.

Persons affected by Alzheimer disease, however, have difficulty remembering new information that is of personal importance and despite paying good attention. For example, it is normal to misplace ones keys, if one is not paying attention; but it would be worrisome if someone forgot to pay a large bill or missed an important family event.

Early on, Alzheimer disease also affects executive functions. This includes the ability to actively organize, analyze, and solve problems. Usually people with early Alzheimer disease are not fully aware of the decline in their memory skills and have difficulty judging the impact these changes may have on their safety or day function.