A FIVE-minute test can detect those at highest risk of dementia – a decade before the earliest symptoms appear.

Experts found scanning blood vessels in the neck helped predict whether a middle-aged Brit would suffer rapidly declining brain power ten years later.

Loss of memory, concentration and language skills are all early signs of dementia.

Scientists from University College London carried out ultrasounds on nearly 3,200 people in their 40s and 50s, and then followed them up for 15 years.

Each time the heart beats, it generates a “pulse” that travels around the body.

Healthy arteries cushion this impact, preventing it from reaching more delicate blood vessels.

But ageing and high-blood pressure cause them to stiffen, reducing the protective effect.

As a result, fragile vessels which supply the brain can be damaged by strong pulses and result in mini-strokes – fueling dementia risk.

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