Researchers can now assess a person’s risk of developing late-life dementia using data from a common type of bone density scan. The long-term study revealed calcification within the abdominal aorta can double one’s risk of developing dementia over the age of 80.
The new study analyzed data from a long-term research project called The Perth Longitudinal Study of Aging Women. The project initially was focused on understanding how calcium supplements can prevent osteoporotic fractures, but it included well over 10 years of valuable follow-up health data.
A team of researchers from Australia’s Edith Cowan University re-examined data from that study, hypothesizing that certain biomarkers gathered from bone density scans could be used to predict the onset of dementia up to 15 years later. The focus was on a biomarker called abdominal aortic calcification (AAC), a build-up of calcium in the body’s largest artery. AAC is currently used to predict a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.