One of Agatha Christie's last novels suggests the author had Alzheimer's, says an English professor who crunched its text in a database and compared it to earlier novels. The number of different words used dropped by an "astounding" 20%, while her use of indefinite words like "thing" or "something" rose, reports NPR. Christie was never diagnosed with Alzheimer's in life, though friends recall her complaining about a lack of concentration.
"I did not want to say what was said in the end," says the University of Toronto professor, who spent 2 years checking his results with other experts. "That yes, the data supported a view that she had developed Alzheimer's." What's more, the book in question was Elephants Can Remember, which revolves around a female novelist with failing memory. Christie may have sensed her own plight but kept writing, which the researcher calls "heroic." (Read more Agatha Christie stories.)