A new study published in the most recent issue of Neurology found that a common tool used to discover the stroke risk in certain individuals may also indicate the person's chance of developing cognitive problems.
Researchers followed 23,752 people with an average age of 64and issued them the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile, which identifies someone's risk of stroke by incorporating their age, blood pressure, education level, history of heart disease, smoking and diabetes status. After four years of observation, they found that those who were found to have a high risk from the test ended up having an increased risk of developing cognitive problems.
"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," said study author Dr. Frederick Unverzagt of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
Unverzagt added that focusing on blood pressure may be a tool doctors can use to identify whether a person has a higher risk of developing cognitive problems into their retirement living years.