Science

Common bone density scan can predict later-life dementia risk

Researchers can now assess an individual’s risk of growing late-life dementia utilizing knowledge from a typical sort of bone density scan. The long-term examine revealed calcification inside the stomach aorta can double one’s risk of growing dementia over the age of 80.

The new examine analyzed knowledge from a long-term analysis project referred to as The Perth Longitudinal Study of Aging Women. The project initially was targeted on understanding how calcium dietary supplements can stop osteoporotic fractures, but it surely included properly over 10 years of useful follow-up well being knowledge.

A group of researchers from Australia’s Edith Cowan University re-examined knowledge from that examine, hypothesizing that sure biomarkers gathered from bone density scans may very well be used to predict the onset of dementia as much as 15 years later. The focus was on a biomarker referred to as stomach aortic calcification (AAC), a build-up of calcium within the physique’s largest artery. AAC is at the moment used to predict an individual’s risk of heart problems and stroke.

Looking at well being data from practically 1,000 ladies, the researchers discovered these topics with medium to excessive AAC of their mid-70s had been twice as prone to be hospitalized or die from dementia over the next 15 years.

It’s typically very fast and straightforward to seize these scans and they’re less-invasive, cheaper and miniscule in radiation publicity in comparison with X-rays or CT scans

One of the examine’s authors, Joshua Lewis, mentioned bone density scans are extremely widespread assessments for senior residents, with greater than half 1,000,000 carried out every year in Australia alone. The machines are broadly obtainable, that means these assessments may very well be simply integrated into present well being screening packages.

“It’s generally very quick and easy to capture these scans and they are less-invasive, cheaper and miniscule in radiation exposure compared to X-rays or CT scans,” mentioned Lewis. “It means these scans may be a cheap, rapid and safe way to screen a large number of susceptible older Australians for higher late-life dementia risk.”

The examine additionally signifies there to be a big overlap within the relationship between cardiovascular well being and brain well being. Simon Laws, one other researcher engaged on the project, mentioned figuring out AAC as a risk consider late-life dementia opens the door to way of life and dietary interventions that would assist folks stop cognitive decline of their 80s.

“There’s an adage in dementia research that what’s good for your heart is good for your brain,” Laws mentioned. “What’s come to light is the importance of modifying risk factors such as diet and physical activity in preventing dementia: you need to intervene early and hopefully this study allows for the earliest possible change and the greatest impact.”

More analysis will probably be wanted to higher perceive the mechanisms that would hyperlink AAC and later-life dementia. It’s additionally unclear whether or not the correlation holds as strongly for males because it does ladies.

Nevertheless, within the short-term these findings affords docs and sufferers a novel method to make use of knowledge from a typical bone scan in assessing one’s risk of growing dementia within the subsequent years.

The new examine was printed within the journal The Lancet Regional Health.

Source: Edith Cowan University

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