Securities regulators are trying to bring doctors and other medical professionals into the fold when it comes to protecting the elderly against investment scam artists.

Regulators representing 24 jurisdictions have created a nationwide program whose goal is to train thousands of medical personnel on how to identify senior citizens who may be vulnerable to investment fraud and then refer them to regulators.

Organizers note that, according to the latest research, more than a third of Americans over the age of 71 have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's disease, ailments that could leave them more susceptible to fraud.

"There is a medical component to elderly investment fraud that has been overlooked and cannot be addressed solely by state securities regulators, said Irving Faught, administrator of the Oklahoma Securities Commission and chairman of the Investor Protection Institute.

According to the 2010 Investor Protection Trust (IPT) Elder Fraud Survey, more than seven million older Americans-one out of every five citizens over the age of 65-already have been victimized by a financial swindle.

The 24 states and other jurisdictions participating in the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program are: Alabama; California; Colorado; Delaware; the District of Columbia; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kentucky; Michigan; Nebraska; New Jersey; New Mexico; North Carolina; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Puerto Rico; Tennessee; Utah; Vermont; and Washington.