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Test your risk for dementia, stroke with "brain care score" from Massachusetts General Hospital

New "brain care score" from MGH can test your risk for dementia, stroke
New "brain care score" from MGH can test your risk for dementia, stroke 01:23

BOSTON - Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have come up with a way to test your risk for dementia or a stroke. 

They calculate your odds and if you get regular checkups, it shouldn't require any blood work, labs or a trip to the doctor.

What are the Brain Care Score questions?

The Brain Care Score is a simple series of questions that you can answer in a few minutes. Many are obvious, including details about your diet, exercise habits, blood pressure and cholesterol. But there are also questions related to your social emotional well being, like - Are you able to manage your stress? Do you have purpose in life? Do you have friends?

"The goal of this score, what's driving us is, to answer the question we were getting," explained co-founder of the McCance Center for Brain Health at Mass. General, Dr. Jonathan Rosand. "What can I do to take good care of my brain, so I don't develop the memory problems that my father did, or my mother did?"

The Brain Care Score surprise

The perfect score is a 21 and, according to Dr. Rosand, there was one big surprise in the research.

"Just a five point rise in the brain care score among the youngest age group in this study, how big the impact was on risk of dementia and stroke is about a 50% drop in your risk," he told WBZ-TV Friday.

How to improve your score

Dr. Rosand said if you fall below perfect, which of course most of us will, his advice is to tackle one issue at a time, something you know you'll be successful at, stopping smoking and reducing blood pressure being the big ones. 

"If all we did was get all the hypertensive people in this country to have their blood pressure in a healthy range... that would have such an impact on the number of new cases of dementia and stroke," he said.

Take the Brain Care Score test for yourself

Dr. Rosand hopes people take the test and then discuss the results with their doctor.

"If we are going to conquer this slow-moving pandemic of age-related brain disease, everybody has to play their part," he said.

You can take the test here or print and use this score sheet.

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