Dementia Detection In Five Minutes Could Improve Long-Term Therapy

A dementia detection procedure that can be completed in five minutes can accurately predict the occurrence of dementia onset up to 10 years after the test.


Scientists at University College London, report that early dementia signs can be detected by a simple, short scan of the individual’s neck.

Indeed, these symptoms can be seen up to 10 years later–following the original scans. This test could become a routine screening tool and highlight middle-aged seniors that are high risk for dementia later in life.



dementia detection


Dementia Detection: Neck Pulse Test Predicts

University College London (UCL) measured heart pulse strength travelling to the brain via the neck.

The intensity of this heart pulse to different parts of the body can vary. Since large blood vessels leading from the heart are elastic, they are able to lessen the major pulse intensity from the heart.

This lower pulse intensity is milder and thus prevents damage to the thin and delicate blood brain vessels

However, as we age, the blood vessels elasticity decreases and they become rigid. Thus, heart beat pulses enter the brain blood vessels with greater force. This can damage brain tissues. Brain tissue damage can lead to mini-strokes and impaired cognition leading to dementia.


Dementia Detection: Study Results

Scientists tested 3,200 middle-aged participants who were followed over 15 years to evaluate their risk for dementia. They were given an ultrasound neck test in 2002, which measured heart pulse intensity to their brains. At the same time, memory function and problem solving tests were administered in order to establish baseline performance.

Testing 10 years later, showed that participants with the highest pulse intensity scored the lowest on tests of memory and cognition. The differential was a significant 50%.

Results were adjusted to factor out the influences of  blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

This is the first study to show a direct link between the heart pulse travelling to the brain and onset-dementia 10 years later.

It can therefore serve as an early warning signal of future dementia onset and suggest new therapies to control the disease.

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