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Online Alzheimer’s Test
For African Americans, Alzheimer’s disease is a disproportionate and often undiagnosed health issue that demands more attention. Many risk factors for Alzheimer’s are linked to lifestyle or the environment and the risk can be decreased. That’s the good news.
Lead researcher Professor Kaarin Anstey of the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra said a free 10-minute online test developed by ANU researchers is helping people assess their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
“Anyone can use the ANU-ADRI to identify areas where they can change their lifestyle and reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s,” Anstey said. “Until now there hasn’t been a self-assessment tool to help the public identify which common risk factors they have, and what they can do about them.”
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 30 million people worldwide. There’s no known cure, but there’s good evidence that it can be prevented by reducing risk factors, Anstey said.
Using long-term studies that follow adults over decades, Anstey and her team identified several risk and protective factors for Alzheimer’s disease and used the information to work out a risk score for each participant. They then examined how this risk score was linked to dementia after several years of follow-up.
Common risk factors for Alzheimer’s include smoking, depression, pesticide exposure and low social engagement, while protective factors include cognitive activity, fish consumption and physical activity, said Anstey.
“Risk reduction for Alzheimer’s disease is similar to risk reduction for heart disease,” she said.
Anstey cautioned although the ANU-ADRI assesses risk and protective factors, it can’t predict with certainty if an individual will develop Alzheimer’s, as other genetic and medical factors also contribute. The test is available at anuadri.anu.edu.au.