Prof Kaarin AnsteyA new method for assessing the global risk of Alzheimer’s disease for use in prevention is being tested by Professor Anstey and her team.

Given the long prodromal period for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the lack of effective treatments, and the increasing prevalence associated with populations ageing, there is a need to identify population health approaches to reducing the risk of the disease (Barnes et al. 2010).

A novel methodology has been used to develop a risk assessment tool that can be updated as more evidence becomes available. Broadly, this tool was developed as follows:

  • First, a systematic search strategy identified risk and protective factors for AD.
  • Second, an algorithm was developed to combine the odds ratios into an AD risk score.
  • Finally, a self-report questionnaire was developed to assess the risk and protective factors.

Compared with developing risk indices on single cohort studies, this approach allows for more risk factors to be included, greater generalisability of results, and incorporation of interactions based on findings from different stages of the lifecourse.

The results of this investigation were recently presented at the DCRC’s National Dementia Forum in Canberra, 27-28 September 2012 and will soon be published in Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Watch for the full story in our February 2013 Dementia Research News.