Research news in brief Winter 2017

From our winter 2017 issue of Care and Cure magazine, here's the research news in brief.

Blood magnesium

Blood magnesium

Levels of magnesium in blood tests that are either higher or lower than normal have been linked to increased risk of dementia. However, when researchers looked specifically at Alzheimer’s disease rather than all causes of dementia, the differences were not significant. A number of previous studies have looked into possible links between magnesium levels in the blood and the chance of developing dementia, but we are still without a clear conclusion.

AI brain scans

Researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to detect signs of dementia in brain scans. Specialised computer software is trained to detect the difference between scans of healthy people and those of people with Alzheimer’s disease. At this stage the software is not accurate enough to be relied upon, but with further research it may be able to provide doctors with an additional perspective.

New genetic test

Researchers working on the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease have developed a test that combines information from more than 30 genes. By combining information from multiple genes, we can make a more accurate estimate of how likely someone is to develop dementia. This could prove useful for clinical trials that need to identify people who are likely to develop dementia, but who don’t yet have any symptoms.

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