In an attempt to help people lead a healthy lifestyle, Public Health England (PHE) has planned to test the 'brain age' of middle-aged patients, thus warning them about the risk of dementia.
The computer-based test, devised by Public Health England, will inform patients about their 'brain age' compared to their biological age. The test will indicate if a 40-year-old person has a brain which is functioning like that of a 60-year-old individual.
Calculations will be made on the basis of the answers related to habits such as exercise, drinking, smoking and weight, combined with clinical data on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This will help people in checking the chances of dementia and keeping it at bay.
Charles Alessi, PHE lead on dementia, said, "We are offering people an opportunity to know exactly how risk factors can influence the rate of decline of their cognitive functions. Dementia is a whole group of conditions and we can manage some of the risks. We know, for example, smoking can accelerate cognitive decline."
According to the Alzheimer's Society, in the UK, the number of persons diagnosed with dementia last year was 816,000 and this figure will touch one million by 2025.
The PHE hopes to use the public's fear of dementia to make them sit up and take action in order to decrease the risk.
Dr Alessi said, "Dementia is going through that phase where people are very scared of it - but you can use the fact they are willing to change their behaviour because they are scared of it to enable to make that change take place."
The pilot project will be taken up in the next few months and if successful it will be taken up all over England.