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What's Your Real Brain Age?' Take This Alzheimer's Risk Test and Find Out


Middle-aged patients in the U.K. will soon be given tests that reveal their "brain age" compared to their chronological age in order to help doctors assess their risk for dementia and other memory loss disorders like Alzheimer's disease. Some view such assessments as offering a preventative edge while others called the idea a "scare" tactic.

The U.K.'s National Health Services was criticized last month when it was revealed it paid doctors 55 pounds (about $87) for each dementia patient they diagnosed. The idea was to make sure doctors were paying enough attention to diagnose the disease in their patients after the rate in the country was called "an intellectual and ethical travesty," according to the Guardian.

The brain age test created by Public Health England is beginning its pilot phase with doctors, but it's not the only one out there. Dr. Vincent Fortanasce, a neurology professor at the University of Southern California and who serves with other physicians at the Fortanasce – Frechette – Purino Neurology Center, devised a true/false test -- What's Your Real Brain Age? -- that you can take now to get a better feel about your risk for Alzheimer's.

What is your brain age? (Photo credit: Shutterstock) What is your brain age? (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Answer each of these questions true or false and then count up the number your marked as true:

  1. I get 7 to 8 hours (or more) of sleep each night.

  2. I eat at least 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants daily.

  3. I eat at least one serving of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries daily.

  4. I eat baked or broiled fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (especially eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) at least three times a week.

  5. I take fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids or flaxseed supplements at least 5 times per week.

  6. I take folic acid supplementation with my daily multivitamin.

  7. I take a low-dose of aspirin daily.

  8. I drink red wine or grape juice at least 5 times a week.

  9. I exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes each time (total of three hours or more of strenuous exercise weekly).

  10. I read challenging books, do crossword puzzles or Sudoku, or engage in activities that require active learning, memorization, computation, analysis, and problem solving at least five times a week.

  11. My total cholesterol is less than 200.

  12. My LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is less than 110.

  13. I have “longevity genes” in my family, with members who lived to 80 and older without memory loss.

  14. I am not obese (less than 20 pounds overweight for a woman; less than 30 pounds overweight for a man).

  15. I eat a Mediterranean style diet (high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, and olive oil as the source of fat; little red meat).

  16. I use olive oil and no trans-fat spreads instead of butter or margarine.

  17. I have never smoked cigarettes.

  18. I have normal blood pressure.

  19. I do not have diabetes.

  20. I do not have metabolic syndrome (high triglycerides, central obesity, and hypertension), also called insulin resistance syndrome.

  21. I do not have a sleep disorder such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnea or untreated insomnia.

  22. Daily uncontrolled stress is not a problem for me.

  23. I have a strong support group and enjoy many activities with friends, colleagues, and family members.

  24. I have no problems with short- or long-term memory.

  25. I’m ready to prevent Alzheimer’s and am willing to do whatever it takes.

Here are the score results, according to Fortanasce's website:

23 – 25 Congratulations! You are aging well. Subtract 15 years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

You are presently healthy with a youthful, productive mind. Following the 4-steps of the D.E.A.R. program will make your body, mind, and spirit even healthier. Unless things change in your life, your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is extremely low.

20 – 22 Not bad! Subtract 10 years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

You are doing a lot to take care of your physical and mental health. Check the specific questions that you marked False – and be sure to pay attention to changes you need to make. Follow the 4-steps of my D.E.A.R. program to make your body, mind, and spirit even healthier.

15-19 OK. Your Real Brain Age is the same as your chronological age.

That said, you have a mild risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so pay attention. Carefully review the 4 steps to see what changes you need to make with your diet, exercise, mental stimulation or rest and relaxation.

12 – 14 – You have a moderate risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Add 5 years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

While there’s not a lot of disparity between your Real Brain Age and your chronologic age, you need to really understand the risks you have that increase the chances of Alzheimer’s. It’s important that you review the quiz and circle any of the statements that indicate some work is needed. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors you have to see if treatment is indicated.

0 – 11– You have a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Add 10 years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

Right now, call your doctor and talk openly about health problems you have. Ask if you’re doing all you can to manage these problems. In addition, read my book The Anti-Alzheimer’s Prescription and flag those pages that may help to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The hope for the computer-based test being developed in the U.K. is for doctors to give patients recommendations for changes they could make reduce their chances of developing a memory loss disorder later in life.

Some think such a test could scare people in the wrong way though.

“This is heavy-handed and intrusive, not only could this frighten people, on the basis of spurious forecasts, but this sort of approach could people off seeking help from their GP when they need it," Roger Goss with the group Patient Concern told the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph. “These kinds of ideas are outrageous – people don’t want to be nagged by their doctor into changing their lifestyle, these are the choice we make as individuals, and GPs should be there when we go to them for help, not forcing this stuff down our throats.”

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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