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New scan could detect dementia 10 years before symptoms develop

Autumnaged Care

New scan could detect dementia 10 years before symptoms develop

A study lead by a team from University College London has lead to a groundbreaking new scan in the field of dementia.

The straightforward, 5 minute neck scan could detect the likelihood of dementia developing in the brain years out from symptoms exhibiting.

Those in the medical community believe the scan could be a pivotal component of the screening approach for middle-age persons at risk of developing the disease.

 

The Science Behind The Study

 

Researchers explained that healthy, elastic blood vessels near the heart are integral to healthy brain and body functioning.

These healthy, elastic blood vessels function to soften the energy and pulse from each heartbeat, protecting the fragile blood vessels found elsewhere in the body.

Unfortunately what can occur through ageing and health deterioration is that these vessels are pressured into stiffening and consequently lose their protective abilities.

The fallout from this process is that strong pulses from the heart can reach delicate brain vessels.

As time progresses and as these delicate blood vessels are exposed to stronger energy pulses, damage is more likely to occur in the delicate blood vessels of the brain.

Experts believe that structural changes in the blood vessel network of the brain and what are known as mini strokes all may trigger the development of dementia.

 

Cognitive Decline

 

The University College London team spent 15 years thoroughly scanning 3200 of brains.

Their focus was acutely monitoring the strength of the pulse between the heart and the brain.

Researchers found that those that exhibited the strongest pulse intensity at the commencement of the study were around 50% more likely to display increasing cognitive decline over the following 15 years compared to their volunteer counterparts.

It is in detecting the pulse strengths and reach of individual brains that the study’s powerful contribution to dementia detection occurs.

The scan will be integral in detection and information gathering, not only giving medical professionals more time to assist but allowing individuals and families to have greater options and opportunities.

 

What The Study Will Mean For Testing

 

The associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, Professor Metin Avkiran says, “This test may provide a new way to identify people at risk of cognitive decline long before they display any noticeable symptoms.

“What we need now is further research, for example to understand whether lifestyle changes and medicines that reduce pulse wave intensity also delay cognitive decline.”

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