Index can target clinical research, someday identify at-risk individuals for prevention strategies
15 may 2009-- Researchers have developed a risk index for Alzheimer's disease that could be used in targeted research and, someday, to determine prevention strategies, according to a study in the May 13 issue of Neurology.
D.E. Barnes, Ph.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues evaluated data on 3,375 subjects, with a mean age of 76 years, in the Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study who had no evidence of dementia at study baseline. Following the group six years later for incidence of dementia, the researchers used logistic regression to identify those factors most predictive of dementia and developed a late-life dementia risk index.
Over the six years, the researchers found that 480 of the subjects developed dementia (14 percent). Based on the factors correlated with dementia, the late-life dementia risk index included (with points assigned) poor cognitive test performance (2 to 4 points), older age (1 to 2 points), body mass index less than 18.5 (2 points), at least one apolipoprotein E ε4 alleles (1 point), white matter disease discerned in MRI of the brain (1 point) or ventricular enlargement (1 point), carotid artery thickening discerned by ultrasound (1 point), history of bypass surgery (1 point), slow physical performance (1 point), and absence of alcohol consumption (1 point).
"The late-life dementia risk index accurately stratified older adults into those with low, moderate, and high risk of developing dementia. This tool could be used in clinical or research settings to target prevention and intervention strategies toward high-risk individuals," the authors conclude.