Framingham stroke risk tool may also predict dementia

The Framingham tool used to assess stroke risk could also predict cognitive problems, researchers believe.

A team from the Indiana University School of Medicine showed that risk factors for stroke such as high BP increased the chance of cognitive problems in older adults, even if they had never had a stroke.

Researchers also found that people at the highest risk of stroke also had five times greater chance of developing cognitive problems including dementia over four years.

Authors suggested the Framingham score could be employed to predict cognitive decline.

An Alzheimer's charity said high BP must be treated early to help reduce the number of deaths from dementia.

Many common vascular risk factors are associated with cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. So researchers examined whether an existing stroke risk score that takes these factors into account could predict cognitive problems as well.

Researchers used the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile score to rate 23,752 people with an average age of 64 who were free of stroke and cognitive problems. The score determines stroke risk by measuring factors such as age, BP, education level, history of heart disease and smoking and diabetes status.

After four years, 1,907 people developed memory and thinking problems.

Researchers found that the higher a person’s Framingham score, the greater chance they had of developing cognitive decline. Fifteen per cent of people in the highest scoring quartile developed problems, compared with just 3% among those in the bottom.

Study author Frederick Unverzagt PhD of Indiana University School of Medicine said: ‘Our findings suggest that elevated BP and thickening of the heart muscle may provide a simple way for doctors to identify people at risk for memory and thinking problems.’

He added: ‘Overall, it appears that the total Stroke Risk Profile score, while initially created to predict stroke, is also useful in determining the risk of cognitive problems.’

Dr Anne Corbett of the Alzheimer's Society said: ‘This study adds weight to the fact that high BP must be treated early, even if the condition is not so severe as to lead to a stroke. We estimate that effective treatment could reduce the number of people dying from dementia by 15,000 a year.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Rebuild GP campaign logo

Hundreds of GPs sign open letter highlighting 'decades of neglect' of general practice

Hundreds of GPs have signed an open letter to patients warning that 'decades of neglect'...

Dr Farah Jameel

PCNs are 'existential threat' to GP independent contractor model, BMA warns

The BMA's England GP committee has warned that PCNs pose an 'existential threat'...

Houses of Parliament

GP partnerships 'like collapsing Jenga stack' after Javid threat to nationalise practices

Sajid Javid's decision to back a report calling for the end of the GMS contract within...

£20 notes spread out

VAT trap for PCNs could strip millions of pounds from general practice

Tens of millions of pounds could be stripped from general practice because work carried...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Is the BMA representing GPs effectively, why GPs face a pension tax hit, and views on the workload crisis

In our regular news review the team discusses representation of GPs, a new survey...

Man sleeping

NICE guidance on insomnia backs app to replace sleeping pills

Hundreds of thousands of people with insomnia could be offered treatment via a mobile...