This calculator can predict your risk of dementia

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In a new study from The Ottawa Hospital, researchers have built an online calculator that empowers individuals 55 and over to better understand the health of their brain and how they can reduce their risk of being diagnosed with dementia in the next five years.

Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Every year, 76,000 new cases of dementia are diagnosed in Canada, a number expected to increase as the population ages.

There is no cure or treatment for dementia. However, about a third of dementia may be preventable through lifestyle factors like physical activity, healthy eating, reducing alcohol and tobacco use, and managing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

In the study, the researchers based the dementia calculator on survey data from over 75,000 Ontarians.

Factors in the Dementia Population Risk Tool (DemPoRT) include: Age, Smoking status and lifetime exposure, Alcohol consumption, Physical activity, Stress, Diet, Sense of belonging, Ethnicity, Immigration status, Socioeconomic status of the neighbourhood, Education, Activities where assistance is needed, Marital status, Number of languages spoken, and Health conditions.

The calculator can be used by individuals to assess their dementia risk and help them modify their lifestyle.

Through this research, the team has developed the first predictive tool designed to predict dementia at a population level.

It can predict the number of new cases in the community, identify higher-risk populations, inform dementia prevention strategies, and will be used to support Canada’s national dementia strategy.

By using regularly collected health data and surveys, population health experts have all the information they need to use the algorithm.

The dementia calculator will be added to a list of existing calculators on Project Big Life that help Canadians estimate their own life expectancy based on habits and lifestyle choices.

The study is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. One author of the study is Dr. Stacey Fisher.

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