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Australian researchers find simple way to detect early signs of dementia

11-11-2010 13:42 BJT

CANBERRA, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers on Wednesday said they have found a simple way to detect the early signs of cognitive decline.

Australian National University (ANU) scientists used a computer- based test which could accurately predict who, during middle-age, already had warning signs for dementia.

"Although we cannot be certain that these middle-aged people will go on to get dementia, the results are important for several reasons," Professor David Bunce from the ANU's Center for Mental Health Research told ABC Science on Wednesday.

"First, the study is one of the first to show that lesions in areas of the brain that deteriorate in dementia are present in some adults aged in their 40s.

"Second, although the presence of the lesions was confirmed through Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, we were able to predict those persons who had them through very simple-to- administer tests."

The research took in almost 430 men and women, aged 44 to 48 and many based in the Canberra area of Australia, and less than 10 percent were found to have the lesions.

Prof. Bunce said the research was in "early days" and the work would need to be replicated, but the research suggested a simple way to highlight those at higher lifetime risk of developing dementia.

It was very low cost and could be performed during a standard doctor's check-up.

The research is published in the journal PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science-ONE).

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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