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Checks on older adults 'could predict elderly health'

Checks on older adults 'could predict elderly health'
26th June 2008

Future health and quality of life may be predicted by standard neurological tests on older adults, according to scientists.

Researchers from the Indiana University Centre for Ageing Research suggest in an Archives of Internal Medicine editorial that the tests should become part of routine medical examinations of older adults.

It accompanies a study from Italian researchers, which suggests that subtle neurological abnormalities in patients without cognitive impairment could predict both cognitive and functional declines.

Malaz Boustani, co-author of the editorial and assistant professor of medicine at the university's school of medicine, says the study offers the first proof of the standard neurological exam's value for predicting future health.

Dr Boustani suggests it confirms that "looking at subtle neurological abnormalities in healthy older adults gives the doctor an insight into factors that contribute to impairment of functional cognition" in later life.

In related news, a study published this week in the journal Neurology suggests that people with a lower IQ in childhood may be more prone to developing vascular dementia in old age.

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