Florida Trend: Dr. Angelina Sutin - Detecting Dementia

photo of Professor Sutin

Researchers at the Florida State University College of Medicine have identified a potential low-cost method for predicting if a person is at risk of developing dementia.

By analyzing data from nearly 13,000 subjects who participated in a long-term aging study, FSU researchers found that a cognitively healthy person’s memory capabilities successfully predicted the likelihood of developing or not developing dementia over a 15-year period.

“Our findings show that interviewers were able to detect deficits in the memory of participants that predicted higher risk of developing dementia over time,” says research author Angelina Sutin, professor of behavioral sciences and social medicine.

The study surveyed a representative sample of adults aged 50 and older about their health, financial situation and well-being every two years for as long as they choose to remain in the study.

Participants’ memory acuities were rated over time by interviewers on a 1-to-5 point scale, with a score of 1 exhibiting no memory impairment and 5 exhibiting great difficulty.

They found that each 1-point increase toward poor memory, as rated by the interviewer, was associated with a 40% increase in risk of developing dementia or cognitive impairment at some point over the long-term follow-up periods.

Florida Trend: FSU Professor Sutin - Detecting Dementia