Canadian researchers at Ottawa Hospital, the University of Ottawa, the Bruyère Research Institute, and ICES have developed and validated an online calculator that will enable people 55 and older to better understand their brain health and reduce their risk of being diagnosed with dementia the next five years.
Your trial was in the today. released Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, and the calculator is available at projectbiglife.ca.
Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other thinking skills that are severe enough to affect daily life. 76,000 new cases of dementia are diagnosed in Canada each year, a number that is expected to increase as the population ages.
There is no cure or treatment for dementia. However, about a third of dementia can be prevented by lifestyle factors such as physical activity, eating a healthy diet, reducing alcohol and tobacco use, and treating conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The researchers based the dementia calculator on survey data from over 75,000 Ontarians.
“The special thing about this dementia risk calculator is that you don’t have to see a doctor for tests,” said Dr. Stacey Fisher, the lead author of the study, who mainly conducted the research in Ottawa while she was supervised as a PhD student by Dr. Doug Manuel and Dr. Peter Tanuseputro at Ottawa Hospital. “People already have all the information they need to fill out the calculator in the comfort of their own home.” Fisher is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Public Health Ontario.
Factors in the Dementia Population Risk Tool (DemPoRT) include:
- Smoking status and lifetime exposure
- Alcohol consumption
- Physical activity
- Sense of belonging
- Immigration status
- Socio-economic status of the neighborhood
- Activities where help is needed
- marital status
- Number of languages spoken
- Health conditions
The calculator can be used by individuals to assess their risk of dementia and help them make lifestyle changes. The researchers also aim to have policymakers use this algorithm to do the same for the general population.
Through this research, the team created the first predictive tool designed to predict dementia at the population level. It can predict the number of new cases in the community, identify higher risk populations, inform dementia prevention strategies, and is used to support Canada’s national dementia strategy. Using regular health data and surveys, public health professionals have all the information they need to use the algorithm.
“This tool will provide clues to people who fill it out on what they can do to reduce their personal risk of dementia,” said Dr. Peter Tanuseputro, senior study author and scientist at Ottawa Hospital, investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute, associate scientist at ICES, and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. “The COVID-19 pandemic has also made it clear that sociodemographic variables such as ethnicity and neighborhood play a major role in our health. It was important to include these variables in the tool so that policymakers can understand how dementia affects different populations and help ensure that all prevention strategies are fair. “
The Dementia Calculator will be added to a list of existing calculators at Project Big Life that help Canadians estimate their own life expectancy based on habits and lifestyle choices.
The calculator was based on data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Surveys, which are located at ICES. Currently developed for use in Canada, it can be customized for any of the 100 countries around the world that collect health data.
Full Reference: Developing and Validating a Predictive Algorithm for Risk of Dementia in the Community Setting. Stacey Fisher, Douglas G. Manuel, Amy T. Hsu, Carol Bennett, Meltem Tuna, Anan Bader Eddeen, Yulric Sequeira, Mahsa Jessri, Monica Taljaard, Geoffrey M. Anderson, Peter Tanuseputro. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 06/25/2021.
Funding: The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and supported by ICES.
About the Ottawa Hospital
Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s premier educational and research hospitals, where excellent care is inspired by research and driven by compassion. As the third largest employer in Ottawa, our employees, researchers, nurses, doctors and volunteers never stop looking for solutions to the most complex healthcare challenges. Our multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, attracts some of the most influential scientific minds from around the world. Backed by the generous support of the community, we strive to provide our loved ones with the premium, compassionate care we desire. http: // www.
About the University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty, and staff who live, work, and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas where brave minds come together to inspire groundbreaking ideas. We’re one of Canada’s top 10 research universities – our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. As one of the few Canadian universities ranked in the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from around the world. http: // www.
Via the Bruyère Research Institute
The Bruyère Research Institute, the research arm of Bruyère, is committed to finding new ways to maximize the quality of life and help people stay and return home. We do this by conducting rigorous, peer-reviewed research, and developing and testing new technologies that help people be more mobile and independent. Our main focus is on improving health systems, global aging and finding new ways to care for and treat people. We pride ourselves on working with industry, academia, government, and patient / family-led groups, and we always work from an equality perspective. Our research strengths lie in the areas of aging and rehabilitation; primary, palliative and inpatient care, memory, as well as equity and effectiveness.
ICES is an independent, not-for-profit research institute that uses population health information to provide knowledge on a wide range of health issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the changing health needs of Ontarians, and an incentive to discuss practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is widely recognized in Canada and abroad and is widely used by governments, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make care decisions and develop guidelines. In October 2018, the institute formerly known as the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences officially adopted the initialism ICES as its official name. For the latest ICES news, follow us on Twitter: @ICESOntario