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Dementia prediction score

Researchers have developed a new risk score to help GPs predict the likelihood of a patient developing dementia.

Their new study quantifies a series of risk factors including age, education level and measures of cardiovascular health. The resulting risk score predicts dementia with a sensitivity of 77 per cent and has a negative predictive value of 98 per cent.

The researchers said their findings, published online by Lancet Neurology, could help identify risk factors up to ten years before dementia takes hold.

Of 1,409 middle-aged people studied and re-examined 20 years later 40 had developed dementia

Patients who developed dementia were older (47 or more), poorly educated (less than 10 years) and more commonly had hypertension, high-cholesterol and obesity at midlife than those without dementia.

Study leader Dr Miia Kivipelto, an associate professor at the Ageing Research Centre in Stockholm, Sweden, said: 'The score highlights the role of vascular factors in dementia and could help identify individuals who might benefit from lifestyle consultations and pharmacological interventions.'

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