Stockholm: Scientists have developed a two-minute test that can access the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
There are seven lifestyle questions on age, education, health and exercise yield a personal score out of the highest of 15, which is then translated into a personal risk level. The higher the score, the more likely dementia will develop within 20 years.
The aim of the test is to shock those at risk into making lifestyle changes necessary to reduce the danger.
Accuracy is estimated at around 70 per cent The test. Those who score highest are estimated to have a 16 per cent chance of developing the disease while those at the lower end have one per cent, according to a report in The Lancet Neurology.
The number of cases of Alzheimer’s is on the increase and presently there is no cure and no predictive testing other than a genetic test.
Though it is generally recognised that there are some risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, not taking exercise, poor diet and high levels of the substance homocysteine in the blood. These may combine years before the disease to create an environment for Alzheimer’s to develop.
The doctors looked at the health of more than 1,400 middle-aged people from Finland to device the scorecard. They looked at their health when they were around 50 and then 20 years later examined them for signs of dementia.
Those who are obese or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol are twice as likely to develop dementia. Scoring badly on all three fronts raises the risk sixfold.
Swedish neurologist Dr Miia Kivipelto, who developed the scorecard, said it could change the face of dementia treatment and gave doctors and patients a better chance in intervention.