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International Healthcare News: Willingness to be tested for dementia 'is influenced by age'

People who are aged between 70 to 79 are the least likely to be willing to use expatriate health insurance policies to have themselves screened for dementia, a new study has indicated.

Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and led by associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Regenstrief Institute investigator Dr Malaz Boustani found that nearly 90 per cent of people were willing to have themselves tested for this cognitive decline.

A total of 554 individuals aged between 65 and 96 were involved in the study, with 70 per cent of these participants female and slightly more than half of them African-American.

Furthermore, three-quarters of the research subjects had an annual income of under $20,000 (£12,716).

However, wealth, race, gender and educational attainment did not appear to significantly affect people's willingness to be screened for dementia.

Men and women aged between 65 and 69 and those older than 80 were more willing to be tested for the condition than individuals between the ages of 70 and 79.

Other issues that appeared to influence a person's willingness to be screened included being more likely to agree to statements claiming a person will benefit if they know they suffer from dementia at an early age, such as the fact this diagnosis would help them to plan for the future.

A total of 497 people were eventually examined through the study and 13 per cent of these were sent on to a confirmatory diagnostic assessment after appearing to test positive for dementia.

While there is not a cure for this mental condition and symptoms worsen over time, many treatments have been developed that can improve the life quality of people with the ailment or help them to cope better with the symptoms.

"We were surprised by the fact that only one in 10 older adults did not want to be screened for dementia and we believe this finding of an extremely high level of acceptance of screening by our well-powered study will help doctors and the United States Preventive Services Task Force evaluate the benefits and harms of dementia screening by providing the voice and perceptions of patients," Dr Boustani said.

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