ALZHEIMER’S researchers have made a “top 10” list of warning signs for doctors to watch out for.

On the list are diabetes, weight problems, high blood pressure, feeling dizzy when you stand, head injuries, poor education, a lack of mental activity, stress, and depression.

The scientists also say clinicians should be on the look out for hyperhomocysteinaemia – a condition where too much of a hormone called homocysteine, which is found in red meat, is in the blood.

They say that targeting lifestyle factors such as cognitive activity, high body mass index in late life, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure will reduce cases.

The project is the largest study ever  done on Alzheimers, say the team from Fudan University in China – which analysed a huge 395 pieces of published research to make its findings.

As well as the top 10 “watch list”, the researchers have revealed nine more health factors that could effect the risk of developing the disease.

These were midlife obesity, weight loss in old age, physical exercise, smoking, sleep, diseased blood vessels in the brain, frailty, irregular or fast heartbeat and lack of vitamin C.

On top of that, the team said two medical treatments given to patients – acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which are drugs that increase communication between nerves, and oestrogen replacement therapy – should be avoided.

Around 850,000 people are affected by dementia in the UK and almost a third of those are Alzheimer’s.

The condition is a leading cause of death and there have been no new drug treatments for dementia in almost 20 years. The most common early symptom of the illness is difficulty in remembering recent events.

With experts predicting a rise in cases as the world’s population ages, the researchers hope their findings help doctors to spot the disease early.

However, recent research has suggested that the number of cases appears to be reducing, possibly due to lifestyle changes, better education and risk reduction strategies to prevent or delay dementia But they admit that more research needs to be done to come up with other promising ways of preventing the condition.

Commenting on the latest research, Professor Jin-Tai Yu, who led the project, said: “This study provides an advanced and contemporary survey of the evidence, suggesting that more high-quality observational prospective studies and randomised controlled trials are urgently needed to strengthen the evidence base for uncovering more promising approaches to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.”

Their research findings were published yesterday in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.