Thursday, May 14, 2009

Researchers develop new way of predicting Alzheimer's risk

A team of researchers in the U.S. have developed a new checklist to predict which people will go on to develop Alzheimer's disease. The team studied 3,375 people with an average age of 76 who were free of dementia at the start of the study. Over six years 480 of the participants developed dementia and the researchers then looked backwards to see which factors would predict who went on to suffer from the condition. They drew up a 15-point scale which included some well-known risk factors such as advanced age, poor thinking skills and having the ApoE4 gene which is linked to Alzheimer's. The scale also included other less-well-known factors such as being underweight, having a history of heart-bypass surgery, being teetotal and being slow at physical tasks such as buttoning up a shirt. After six years 56% of those with high scores on the scale had developed dementia, compared to only 23% of those with moderate scores and just 4% of those with low scores. Overall the scale correctly predicted risk in 88% of the participants.

You can find out more about this research at

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