It’s a disease that affects approximately 50 million people worldwide and a staggering 10 million new cases are reported every year, but a new study has found the way we drive could be an early sign of dementia.
According to BestLife, a study published in the medical journal Geriatrics has found hard-braking a lot while driving could be an early sign of dementia.
BestLife reports the study used data from in-vehicle recording devices installed in 2,477 participants’ cars. The participants were all active drivers aged between 65 and 79. When recording began none of the participants had recorded medical histories of mild cognitive impairment or other degenerative medical issues.
The study, which followed the participants for nearly four years, found that the number of hard-braking events while driving was an indicator of early-onset dementia.
“Based on variables derived from the naturalistic driving data and basic demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, and education level, we could predict mild cognitive impairment and dementia with 88 percent accuracy,” Sharon Di, Ph.D., associate professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics at Columbia Engineering and the study’s lead author, said in a statement reported by BestLife.
“Our study indicates that naturalistic driving behaviors can be used as comprehensive and reliable markers for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. If validated, the algorithms developed in this study could provide a novel, unobtrusive screening tool for early detection and management of mild cognitive impairment and dementia in older drivers,” Guohua Li, MD, professor of epidemiology and anesthesiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the study’s senior author said in a statement.