Alzheimer’s Risk Index
Monday, August 17, 2009

A new risk index for Alzheimer’s disease could help identify older people at risk for dementia. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this Alzheimer’s risk index in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Researchers have developed a 15-point risk index that may help predict which people 65 and older are most likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of the items on the risk scale are well-known risk factors for dementia, such as older age, low scores on tests of thinking and memory and having a gene that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s.

Other risk factors include being underweight, nondrinkers of alcohol, people who’ve had bypass heart surgery and people who are slow at performing physical tasks.

Older people who score an eight or higher are deemed to be at high risk for developing dementia.

Researchers examined 3,375 people with no evidence of dementia and followed them for six years. During that period, 480 people developed dementia.

Researchers determined which risk factors were best at predicting dementia and created the risk index. The index, overall, correctly classified 88 percent of the participants.

A late life dementia index could be used to identify high-risk individuals for clinical trials and to target preventions toward those at greatest risk.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.