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Online test developed to gauge Alzheimer's risk

Online test developed to gauge Alzheimer's risk
20th January 2015

A new online test has been developed to assess people's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

The free, 20-minute Cognitive Function Test, which is designed to be taken by people between 50 and 70, features simple questions about lifestyle and diet, which are used to calculate a person's risk of being diagnosed with the condition.

It has been developed by Professor David Smith from Oxford University, who is one of the leading figures in Alzheimer's research in Britain, and charity Food For The Brain.

The test features 37 questions in total, along with interactive memory tests. Experts hope it will encourage people to change risk factors in their lifestyle and provide vital information about the disease.

Professor Smith told the Daily Express: "Not only does the test give people positive prevention steps to reduce risk in the long-term but also there's an annual check-up so people can track how diet and lifestyle changes impact on their cognitive function."

As well as providing people with personalised information on how they can reduce their risk by changing their lifestyle, it is hoped the test will generate data that will help to develop a national prevention strategy.

As there are currently no treatments for Alzheimer's, lifestyle changes are the best way of preventing the onset of the condition.

Leading dementia experts believe only one in 100 cases of dementia have a direct genetic cause and more than a half are linked to factors that are within our power to change.

Some 200,000 people have trialled the Cognitive Function Test, which has been compared to standard memory tests used in GP surgeries and specialist memory clinics in a pilot study to identify those at risk by identifying subtle changes in memory as early as possible. 

A number of interactive assessments are included in the test, gauging people's episodic memory (ability to remember incidents), executive function and processing speed.