Online tool predicts dementia risk

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Seniors worried about developing dementia now can use an online assessment tool to find out if they have any risk factors for the disease.

The tool, which was developed by dementia researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, asks users about their general health and whether they've had a health history of conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, high cholesterol or a head injury. The test is designed to weed out those who have real risks for dementia from those who are experiencing the type of memory loss that comes with getting older or having a busy lifestyle, says Jason Brandt, the study's lead author. Users also can find out whether, or if, they should see a doctor in person.

"Screening procedures that have demonstrated validity and predictive value and are noninvasive, brief and do not require any special expertise to administer may have the greatest potential to be accepted and actually used by the greatest number of people," Brandt said.

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