A new study by the scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) has succeeded in using a computer-based test to gauge a person's brain health.
The test assessed a person's reaction time while also looking for erratic answering patterns, and it raised a red flag those who an MRI scan later found to have dementia-related brain lesions.
"Although we cannot be certain that these middle-aged people will go on to get dementia, the results are important for several reasons," News.com.au quoted Professor David Bunce as saying.
"Although the presence of the lesions was confirmed through MRI scans, we were able to predict those persons who had them through very simple-to-administer tests," he added.
The research took in almost 430 men and women, aged 44 to 48 and many based in the Canberra area, and less than 10 per cent were found to have the lesions.
It was very low cost and could be performed during a standard doctor's check-up.
"It could be something a GP could have in their surgery and it would take 30 seconds to a minute to do, like a blood pressure test," Bunce said.
"And certainly, the earlier we can intervene with people vulnerable to eventual dementia, the greater the chances of preventing or delaying the disease onset."
The research is published in the journal PLoS ONE.