Alzheimer’s disease could be detected using a 15-minute online test, researchers have claimed.
The free interactive quiz has been designed to indicate early signs of the condition in 50 to 70-year-olds.
The test has been developed by mental health experts and is aimed at those who are worried about memory decline.
Once the test is completed, a result is provided immediately along with advice about lifestyle and diet changes.
Those who are at risk of Alzheimer’s disease are given a letter for their GP.
Research shows that three in 10 over-70s have impaired memory, with 75% of these likely to develop Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia within five years.
Poor diet and a bad lifestyle have previously been linked to memory decline and the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Professor David Smith, of Oxford University, said: “Alzheimer’s is a preventable disease, not an inevitable part of the ageing process.
“Rather than leaving it until too late, the trick is to identify any decline in memory function as early as possible and take the necessary prevention steps.”
He added: “Only about one in a hundred cases of Alzheimer’s is caused by genes.
“As long as decline in memory function is identified early, research has shown that a combination of specific B vitamins, dietary and lifestyle changes, can greatly reduce the rate at which your brain shrinks, and your memory worsens.”
Over-50s with a raised blood level of homocysteine - a toxic amino acid - experience accelerated brain shrinkage, research has shown, and have poorer memories than people with less homocysteine.
But a diet rich in B vitamins greatly reduces the shrinkage.