These mistakes when making tea could be early signs of dementia
Small mistakes while carrying out everyday tasks, such as making…
Small mistakes while carrying out everyday tasks, such as making a cup of tea, could be an early sign of dementia, according to new research.
From having to check several times that the teabag is in your cup or going to the fridge to fetch the milk when it’s already out on the counter could signal that the brain’s processing ability is declining, the Mail Online reports.
While the majority of people carry out tasks more inefficiently as they get older, experts are saying that making lots of small mistakes could be a sign that that a someone has a higher risk of developing dementia in the future.
Researchers from Temple University in the US asked 90 people, 40 of who had dementia, to carry out everyday tasks, including wrapping a present and making themselves a breakfast of jam on toast with coffee, in a laboratory.
Volunteers were observed while they carried out the task and then asked to describe how they would do the task in question, and put pictures of each step in the correct order.
They identified two types of processing failure – missing out vital steps and problems sorting steps into the right order – which could signal cognitive problems, such as dementia.
“Early on, we can look at very subtle errors called ‘micorerrors’,” wrote study co-author Dr Tania Giovannetti in the latest edition of the Journal of Neuropsychology.
“When we compare healthy agers to young people, there are more microerrors in healthy older adults than young adults, and they’re associated with memory problems and cognitive changes. Healthy agers reach out to objects inefficiently, they touch them when they don’t need to, they make all these extra little actions. We think that might be the beginning of a problem. If you have more of those, then you are more vulnerable to decline in future.”
Speaking about the study, Dr Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, told the Mail Online: “There are over 30 steps involved in making a cup of tea so while it may seem like an everyday task to many of us, it can be an uphill struggle for someone with dementia.
“Relatives of people with dementia often speak of small “warning signs” many years before a diagnosis. We all make small mistakes in our daily lives, and while these might become more common with age, this isn’t necessarily a sign of a problem. Anyone with concerns about their memory or their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, should speak to their GP.”