Two promising non-invasive tests for predicting possible future dementia have been reported.
The first test used an ultrasound scanner to examine the pulses in the neck arteries of nearly 3200 people in 2002. The study then monitored their cognitive functions until 2016, and found that those people with the most intense pulses and irregular blood flow in the neck arteries were up to 50% more likely to experience cognitive decline, which is a strong sign of oncoming dementia. If the results can be replicated in larger studies, this test could become routine and widespread in doctors’ offices.
Here are links to two media articles on the work, together with a link to the abstract of the study:
Dementia risk: Five-minute scan ‘can predict cognitive decline’
Five-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years earlier, say scientists
Abstract 13364: Carotid Artery Wave Intensity Measured in Mid- to Late-Life Predicts Future Cognitive Decline: The Whitehall II Study
The second test can be carried out by an optician during routine annual examinations of patients’ eyes. During such routine annual exams, the optician examines the state of the patient’s retinas. This study showed that the thinness of the retina is correlated with the likelihood of cognitive decline: Healthy patients with the thinnest retinal layers were seen to be twice as likely to later experience cognitive decline. Such thinness of the retinal layer could be routinely checked by opticians.
Below are links to two media articles about the study, together with the study abstract:
Optician’s eye test ‘could spot early dementia signs’
Retinal Thinning Tied to Cognitive Decline
Association of Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thinning With Current and Future Cognitive Decline
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