A simple test that can be given by any physician predicts a person’s risk for developing dementia within six years with 87 percent accuracy, according to a study led by researchers at San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).
The test, developed in the study by the researchers, is a 14-point index combining medical history, cognitive testing, and physical examination. It requires no special equipment and can be given in a clinical setting such as a doctor’s office or at a patient’s bedside.
The new index is the “bedside” version of a longer, more technically comprehensive “best” test, also developed during the study, that is 88 percent accurate.
These are the first tools to accurately predict dementia, according to lead author Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, a mental health researcher at SFVAMC. Barnes described the tests in a presentation at the 2007 International Conference on Prevention of Dementia, in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association.
“There are tests that accurately predict an individual’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease and other maladies, but, until now, no one has developed similar scales for dementia,” says Barnes, who also is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
As measured by the “bedside” index, the risk factors for developing dementia are an age of 70 or older, poor scores on two simple cognitive tests, slow physical functioning on everyday tasks such as buttoning a shirt or walking 15 feet, a history of coronary artery bypass surgery, a body mass index of less than 18, and current non-consumption of alcohol.
People who score 0 to 3 on the “bedside” test have a 6 percent chance of developing dementia within six years. A score of 4 to 6 indicates a 25 percent chance.
People with a score of 7 or higher have a 54 percent chance of developing dementia within six years.
The 18-point comprehensive, or “best,” test measures for all “bedside” risk factors plus factors that would be more difficult to measure as part of a routine clinical visit. These include brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of enlarged ventricles –– the fluid-filled cavities between brain tissue -- or diseased white matter –– the nerve cells that transmit signals between grey matter; thickening of the internal carotid artery, which brings blood to the head and neck; and the presence of one or two copies of the e4 allele, or subtype, of APO-E, the gene that codes for the protein known as Apolipoprotein. The presence of APO-E e4 alleles is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
A “best” test score of 0 to 4 indicates a 4 percent chance of developing dementia within six years. A score of 5 to 8 indicates a 25 percent chance.
A score of 9 or higher indicates a 52 percent chance of developing dementia within six years.
To develop the tests, the study authors tracked a broad range of physical, mental, demographic and other variables for six years among 3,375 participants in the Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study, a national prospective study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). At the beginning of the study, none of the subjects were demented.
Their mean age was 76. Fifty-nine percent were women and 15 percent were African-American. By the end of the study, 14 percent of the subjects had developed dementia. The variables that were predictive of dementia in a statistically significant way became the basis of the tests.
The authors caution that there were no Hispanics or Asian-Americans included in the study population, and that the new scales need validation in other study groups before they can become standard clinical tools.
“We certainly plan to look at other groups to see if these results are valid across a variety of populations,” says Barnes.
Steve Tokar | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences