CogniFit's Science blog: Specific Health Statistics Can Better Predict Dementia In Middle Age

Specific Health Statistics Can Better Predict Dementia In Middle Age

Dementia varies in degrees of severity, treatment options and how long it may last in a person. It can also vary in how it is diagnosed because each is dealt with on a case by case basis. However, scientists say they have created a specific test that can determine the chances someone has of developing the disease in middle age.

There are specific criteria that doctors look at when analyzing the brain and mind. But a new formula can take certain health statistics, combine the ingredients and spit out a fairly reliable percentage. By analyzing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, gender, body mass index, level of exercise, age, education and genetic factors, scientists say they can accurately predict.

The goal behind identifying such a number is to predict the overall risk for diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. For many years there was nothing quite like this available for mental diseases. But now an overall estimation can help one determine their risk level.

Scientists took around 1,500 middle-aged people from Finland to determine how accurate the tests would be. 20 years after looking at conducting the tests, scientists were able to take the results and create a score-based system to determine the chances one might develop dementia in their later years.

In addition to risk factors like age and education level, the subjects who had high blood pressure and cholesterol along with obesity were far more likely to suffer from dementia in their later life.

The findings are quite encouraging because it shows that dementia can be prevented. What researchers found is that the condition is the metabolic result of falling victim to poor health habits for a lifetime. By changing these habits early enough in life, the mental disease can be avoided.

So what does this suggest? It basically speaks to the importance of doing all of the things we as humans have long known but do not always follow. Exercising regularly is about much more than staying fit…it can ultimately deter dementia down the road. Mental training is also very important. Eating a nutritious diet is about much more than becoming obese or out of shape…it can help your mind stay clear well into the senior years of life.

At this time the tests are still not 100% clear as it picks up far too many who may not develop dementia later in life. There is a lot of work in neuroscience and improvement needed to validate the results. However, it is a positive start with optimistic findings that give hope for the chance of most avoiding the disease in the long run.