SCIENTISTS have revealed a ‘neck scan’ which can be used to detect people who are at risk of dementia before any symptoms appear.
A study of 3000 people over a 15 year period showed that those with the most intense intense pulses in blood vessels in the neck went on to suffer greater cognitive decline over the next decade.
Scientists at the University College London, where the study was conducted, believe that a more intense pulse can cause damage to small blood vessels in the brain and a higher risk of minor bleeds which can cause mini strokes.
The research revealed that those with the highest intensity pulse at the beginning of the study were about 50 per cent more likely to show accelerated cognitive decline over the next decade compared with the rest of the participants. The scientists have revealed that this is the equivalent of about an extra one to one-and-half years of decline.
Dr Scott Chiesa, from UCL, said: ‘Dementia is the end result of decades of damage, so by the time people get dementia it's too late to do anything. What we're trying to say is you need to get in as early as possible, identify a way to see who's actually progressing towards possibly getting dementia and target them.’
The researchers hope the test could provide a new way to identify people who are at risk of developing dementia, leading to earlier treatments and lifestyle interventions.
Evidence suggests that controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, having a healthy diet, doing regular exercise and not smoking can all help to stave off dementia.