Dealing with dementia can be difficult not only for those struggling with the cognitive decline, but for their loved ones who feel powerless to help. That’s what makes early detection so important — the sooner you notice signs of oncoming dementia, the sooner your doctors can target treatment to stop or slow down the degeneration.
Now, research from the University College London (UCL) has found a fast, easy way to spot the likelihood of developing dementia long before scary symptoms start to appear. According to a report from Daily Express, the researchers studied more than 3,000 people over a 15 year span. Their method involved tracking how quickly the pulse travelled through the participants’ blood vessels in their neck. Those with higher pulses were found to be 50 percent more likely to have “accelerated cognitive decline” over the next ten years.
Dr. Scott Chiesa from UCL told Express, “By the time people get [diagnosed with] dementia, it’s too late to do anything. What we’re trying to say is you need to get in as early as possible, identify a way to see who’s actually progressing towards possibly getting dementia, and targeting them.”
Since it only takes a few minutes to scan a patient’s pulse on their neck, this incredibly simple test could mean a huge step forward in treating dementia as early as a decade before the more debilitating symptoms rise. Of course, researchers are continuing with more studies to verify these results, but we can’t help but feel like this could be a game changer in the treatment of this and other cognitive diseases that are so common with aging. Growing older can be scary when we see generations before us battling these conditions, but hopefully this news means there can be one less thing to worry about the next time any of us count how many candles are on our birthday cake.