One crucial missing piece to the devastating puzzle of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia is how to detect them early. Many researchers are hard at work evaluating biomarkers like levels of proteins known as beta-amyloid and tau in cerebrospinal fluid or imaging-detected changes in the brain.
There might be another, easier-to-detect signal. The first clinical markers of cognitive decline are found not in the brain but in the bank account. Impaired financial decision-making can appear decades before the emergence of other traditional signs or symptoms, like memory loss.