Late-Life Dementia Risk Could Be Predicted With The Help Of A Common Scan

Credit: Unsplash, Ravi Patel

People over the age of 80 are seeing an increased incidence of late-life dementia in recent years. According to the findings of recent research that looked at the illness over a period of several years, a straightforward and common scan may tell whether or not a person has a higher chance of acquiring the ailment later in life. Late-onset dementia is caused by damage to brain cells that may be caused by a number of disorders, including those that cause a constriction of the blood arteries that supply the brain with blood.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) have made a significant discovery on the relationship between vascular health and dementia in older adults This connection is made by calcification of the plaques that may build up inside the abdominal aorta, which is the biggest artery in the body and carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the abdomen organs and lower extremities. This buildup of calcium also referred to as “abdominal aortic calcification” or AAC, may be highly helpful in predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke.

Detecting dementia

However, researchers have now shown that it is also a valid indicator for dementia in older people.  They looked at the findings of the AAC in 968 women who were born in the late 1990s, and then they tracked their health for more than 15 years after that. They discovered that one in two older women had moderate to great levels of AAC, and all these women were twice as susceptible to being hospitalised or dying from late-life dementia—regardless of the other cardiovascular variables or genetic factors that were taken into consideration.

According to Professor Simon Laws, director of the Center for Precision Health, AAC has the potential to detect dementia risk in individuals earlier in their lives, which may prove to be an essential step in preventing the illness. Bone density devices can do convenient lateral spine scans, which may be used to diagnose AAC in an expedient manner. These devices are rather popular, and over 600,000 bone density tests are carried out annually in Australia in an effort to screen for osteoporosis.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.