Novel tool to predict Alzheimer’s risk in elderly developed

May 14th, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 14 (ANI): Researchers from University of California, San Francisco have developed a new tool that may help predict whether people age 65 and older have a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

They have developed a new risk index that could be very important in determining Alzheimer’s risk in elderly.

“It could be used to identify people at high risk for dementia for studies on new drugs or prevention methods,” said Dr Deborah E. Barnes of the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Centre and member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“The tool could also identify people who have no signs of dementia but should be monitored closely, allowing them to begin treatment as soon as possible, and potentially helping them maintain their thinking and memory skills and quality of life longer,” she added.

The risk index is a 15-point scale. People who score eight or more points on the scale are at high risk of developing dementia in the next six years.

To develop the index, researchers in the Cardiovascular Health Study examined 3,375 people with an average age of 76 and no evidence of dementia and followed them for six years.

During that time, 480 of the people, or 14 percent, developed dementia. The researchers then determined which factors best predicted who would develop dementia and created the point index.

A total of 56 percent of those with high scores on the index developed dementia, compared to 23 percent of those with moderate scores and four percent of those with low scores.

The study showed, overall the index correctly classified 88 percent of the participants.

The researchers are conducting further studies for evaluating whether a shorter, more simplified index could be as accurate as this index.

The study appears in journal of Neurology. (ANI)

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