London: Dementia can be predicted ten years in advance, according to a Danish study which may help prevent the disease in high-risk individuals.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, provides 10-year absolute risk estimates for dementia specific to age, sex, and common variation in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene.
Dementia is a major cause of disability in older adults worldwide, yet no effective treatment is currently available, said researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Reduction of risk factors for dementia may have the potential to delay or prevent the development of the disease, they said.
Age, sex and common variation in the APOE gene identify high-risk individuals with the greatest potential to benefit from targeted interventions to reduce risk factors.
The APOE protein is key for metabolizing cholesterol and to clear beta-amyloid protein from the brain in individuals with Alzheimer's disease.
Recently, it was estimated that one-third of dementia most likely can be prevented, researchers said.
According to the Lancet Commission, early intervention for hypertension, smoking, diabetes, obesity, depression and hearing loss may slow or prevent disease development, they said.
"If those individuals at highest risk can be identified, a targeted prevention with risk-factor reduction can be initiated early before the disease has developed, thus delaying the onset of dementia or preventing it," said Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, a professor at the University of Copenhagen.
The study looked at data on 1,04,537 people in Copenhagen, Denmark, and linked it to diagnoses of dementia.
Researchers found that a combination of age, sex and a common variation in the APOE gene could identify high-risk groups, with a seven percent risk for women and six percent risk for men in their 60s.
There was a 16 percent and 12 percent risk, respectively, for people in their 70s, and a 24 percent and 19 percent risk, respectively, for those aged 80 years and older.
"The present absolute 10-year risk estimates of dementia by age, sex and common variation in the APOE gene have the potential to identify high-risk individuals for early targeted preventive interventions," the researchers said.