Can This Simple Test Predict If You Will Develop Dementia? Late dementia is becoming increasingly common in people after the age of 80.
A new long-term study has shown that a simple and common examination can reveal whether people are at greater risk of developing the condition at the end of life.
Late dementia develops when brain cells are damaged by various diseases, some of which cause blood vessels to narrow to the brain.
Researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) have discovered an important link between vascular health and late-developing dementia that tends to develop out of nowhere.
This binding is the calcification of plaques that can accumulate within the abdominal aorta, which is the largest artery in the body and provides oxygenated blood from the heart to the abdominal area, especially organs located in the abdomen and lower limbs.
This accumulation of calcium – is commonly known as “abdominal aortic calcification”, or AAC. Its been discovered that a proper test, it can be very useful in predicting the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as narrowing of the arteries, heart attack and stroke, and other veinal diseases.
Luckily, researchers have now made further progress and have discovered that it is also a reliable marker for late dementia in some individuals.
The study was Led by ECU’s Nutrition and Health Innovation Institute and Centre for Precision Health. The team consisted of a number of well-known international researchers from the University of Western Australia, the University of Minnesota, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, and Harvard Medical School among others.
The research included examining the AAC results in 968 women from the late 1990s. The subject’s health status was then followed over a 15-year period.
The study found one in two older women had medium to high levels of AAC. These individuals were twice as likely to be diagnosed, hospitalized, or die from a late-life dementia-type condition, even if other cardiovascular indicators were not present.
The Center for Precision Health, from a report made by its director, Professor Simon Laws said AAC could identify dementia risk earlier in people’s lives, which could help aid in prevention and even warding off the condition.
“There’s an old saying related to dementia research that says, “what’s good for your heart is good for your brain,” he said.
“What’s come to light is the importance of powerful factors related to diet and physical activity and how important these are in reducing the onset of dementia.
AAC has proven to be important as it is able to identify dementia risks in people who may seem to have good health, and do not display any of the major genetic risk factors present in 50 percent of people who develop Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia in most countries.
The Research Has shown that a simple spine scan from a bone density machine should be able to detect any abnormalities.
These machines are very common, especially in developed countries with good health care options. There are currently more than 600,000 bone density tests performed each year in Australia alone.
These scans are cheap and can provide a rapid and safe way to screen a large number of susceptible older people for higher late-life dementia risk.
Materials provided by Edith Cowan University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.