(HealthDay News) — A novel risk score can identify individuals at risk for dementia in the United Kingdom, according to a study published online Aug. 24 in BMJ Mental Health.

Malis Anatürk, DPhil, from University College London, and colleagues developed and validated a novel dementia risk score for a midlife UK population using the UK Biobank and UK Whitehall II study. The UK Biobank cohort was divided into a training cohort and test sample (176,611 and 44,151 participants, respectively), and the Whitehall II cohort was used for external validation (2,934 participants). The strongest predictors of incident dementia from 28 candidates were selected, and a risk score was developed using competing risk regression.

The risk score (UK Biobank Dementia Risk Score [UKBDRS]) includes age, education, parental history of dementia, material deprivation, a history of diabetes, stroke, depression, hypertension, high cholesterol, household occupancy and sex. The researchers found that the score had strong discrimination accuracy in the UK Biobank test sample and in the Whitehall II cohort (area under the curve, 0.8 and 0.77, respectively). The UKBDRS outperformed other widely used dementia risk scores developed in cohorts in Australia, Finland and the United Kingdom: the Australian National University Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Index, the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Ageing, and Dementia score, and the Dementia Risk Score.

“While the consistent performance of UKBDRS across these two independent groups boosts our confidence in its viability, we need to evaluate it across more diverse groups of people both within and beyond the UK,” coauthor Raihaan Patel, PhD, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

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