Study into the possibility of delaying the onset of dementia

  • The world's largest study of cognitive function aimed at predicting what factors may increase the risk of developing dementia.

    One third of a million adults in the UK are taking part in a trial, funded by the Medical Research Council to try to predict what factors increases the risk of a person developing dementia.

    Each of the volunteers enrolled in the UK Biobank four to five years ago where they gave blood and urine samples, underwent fitness tests and gave answers on their health and diet. They also did a series of computer-based puzzles which will now be repeated, reports the BBC. Shiny Brain

    All participants were aged between 40-69 when the programme started and they are now able to take the tests at home through an online login.

    Dr John Gallacher, an epidemiologist at Cardiff University who helped devise the tests said: "Most people will have just minute falls in their test results since they did them last time but even this might help us predict who will develop dementia in the future. It's important to stress that this is not a dementia test. In order to stratify people for dementia risk we have to know their cognitive function before they develop the condition. If we could delay the onset of dementia by five years that would halve the number of people with the condition, which would be massive".

    Dr Doug Brown, Alzheimer's Society Director of Research and Development said: "We know that changes in the brain happen decades before any symptoms of dementia present themselves. Studying people in mid-life could ultimately help us find clues to understand or even prevent the condition."

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