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Alzheimer's Disease - Dementia

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Alzheimer's Disease - Dementia

NIH - Medical Encyclopedia Alzheimer's Disease

"Alzheimer's disease (AD), one form of dementia, is a progressive, degenerative brain disease. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Memory impairment is a necessary feature for the diagnosis of this or any type of dementia. Change in one of the following areas must also be present: language, decision-making ability, judgment, attention, and other areas of mental function and personality. The rate of progression is different for each person. If AD develops rapidly, it is likely to continue to progress rapidly. If it has been slow to progress, it will likely continue on a slow course. There are two types of AD -- early onset and late onset. In early onset AD, symptoms first appear before age 60. Early onset AD is much less common, accounting for only 5-10% of cases. However, it tends to progress rapidly. The brain tissue shows "neurofibrillary tangles" (twisted fragments of protein within nerve cells that clog up the cell), "neuritic plaques" (abnormal clusters of dead and dying nerve cells, other brain cells, and protein), and "senile plaques" (areas where products of dying nerve cells have accumulated around protein). Although these changes occur to some extent in all brains with age, there are many more of them in the brains of people with AD."

Highlighted Articles

Education and Alzheimer disease without dementia: support for the cognitive reserve hypothesis. (Neurology. 2007)

"CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of the neuropathologic criteria used, education is predictive of dementia status among individuals with neuropathologic Alzheimer disease. These results support the theory that individuals with greater cognitive reserve, as reflected in years of education, are better able to cope with AD brain pathology without observable deficits in cognition."

Nutritional factors, cognitive decline, and dementia. (Brain Res Bull. 2006)

"Nutritional factors and nutritional deficiencies have been repeatedly associated with cognitive impairment. … Deficiencies of several B vitamins have been associated with cognitive dysfunction in many observational studies. More recently, deficiencies of folate (B(9)) and cobalamine (B(12)) have been studied in relation to hyperhomocysteinemia as potential determinants of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease (AD). A small number of studies assessed the association between intake of macronutrients and cognitive function or dementia. Among the others, the intake of fatty acids and cholesterol has received particular attention. Although the results are not always consistent, most studies have reported a protective role of dietary intakes of poly- and mono-unsaturated fatty acids against cognitive decline and AD."

Exercise Is Associated with Reduced Risk for Incident Dementia among Persons 65 Years of Age and Older (Annals of Internal Medicine 2006)

"Conclusion: These results suggest that regular exercise is associated with a delay in onset of dementia and Alzheimer disease, further supporting its value for elderly persons."

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Alzheimer's Disease - Dementia

Risk Reduction


Can Exercising Your Brain Prevent Memory Loss? “"This study is exciting because it demonstrates that aging does not need to be a passive process. By simply engaging in cognitive exercise, you can protect against future memory loss," said study author Yonas Geda, MD, MSc, a neuropsychiatrist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Of course, the challenge with this type of research is that we are relying on past memories of the participants, therefore, we need to confirm these findings with additional research.”

Chemicals Found In Fruit And Vegetables Offer Dementia Hope

Eating Curry Every Week 'could Prevent Dementia' “…curcumin prevented the spread of amyloid plaques, found outside brain cells. … Studies looking at populations show that people who eat a curry meal two or three times a week seem to have a lower risk for dementia, he told the Annual Meeting. "Those studies seem to show that you need only consume what is part of the normal diet - but the research studies are testing higher doses to see if they can maximise the effect. It would be equivalent of going on a curry spree for a week." However, curry may be just one of the ingredients that prevent degeneration of the brain. "If you are eating fatty burgers and smoking then don't expect an occasional curry to counterbalance a poor lifestyle. However, if you have a good diet and take plenty of exercise, eating curry regularly could help prevent dementia," he said. Turmeric is also found in mustard and Professor Doraiswamy predicted a day when - for those unable, or unwilling, to consume curries regularly - the public might be advised to take a 'curry' pill every day if the findings are confirmed in human studies.”

Exercising the mind could hold off dementia

'Heart Healthy' Diet And Ongoing, Moderate Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Decline “"Our results suggest that including whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, and nuts in one's diet may offer benefits for cognition in late life," Wengreen said. "However, we need more research before we can confidently say how much of these foods to include in your diet to experience some benefit. … "We found that older adults who were sedentary throughout the study had the lowest levels of cognitive function at the beginning and experienced the fastest rate of cognitive decline," Barnes said. "Cognitive decline also was faster in those whose physical activity levels consistently declined during the study period." According to the researchers, sedentary elders who began new aerobic exercise programs experienced improvements in cognitive function, especially the ability to process complex information quickly. "Sedentary individuals should be encouraged to engage in physical activity at least occasionally," Barnes said. "People who are currently active should be encouraged to maintain or increase their activity levels. … While the relationship of physical activity with cognitive performance as we age is a subject of considerable research, much less is known about how this relationship is impacted by the Alzheimer's risk gene Apolipoprotein E (APOE). The APOE gene comes in three types, or alleles, known as e2, e3, and e4. Each person gets one type of APOE from each parent, making the possible combinations: e2/e2, e2/e3, e2/e4, e3/e3, e3/e4, e4/e4. Having two copies of e4 conveys the highest risk for Alzheimer's; having one e4 also raises one's risk. E3 is the most common type. E2, though rare, is thought to be protective. … In their analysis, the researchers found that physical activity was associated with enhanced cognitive function, and that this relationship was differentially influenced by the person's APOE genotype: non-E4 carriers and people with one copy of E4 performed better than people with two copies of E4. After adjusting for age, ethnicity, severe chronic medical illness, lean body mass, and education, aerobic physical activity continued to show a statistically significant association with cognitive function in non-E4 carriers but not in people with E4 (any combination) "In our nationally representative sample, persons who reported higher levels of aerobic physical activity had better memory than those who reported no such activity. This was especially true in those people who didn't have the APOE-e4 Alzheimer's risk gene," Obisesan said. "Because physical activity is a low-cost, low-risk, readily available intervention, it may prove to be an important public health strategy to reduce or prevent memory loss and other symptoms of mental decline in the elderly. “

Keep Muscles Strong to Slash Risk of Cognitive Decline

Less Food, More Thought (video)

Moderate Physical Exercise, DASH Diet Protective Against Age-Related Cognitive Decline “Regular physical exercise and a heart-healthy diet, 2 of the mainstays of good physical health, may also be protective against age-related cognitive decline and dementia, 2 new studies suggests.”

More Leptin May Mean Less Alzheimer's

Vitamin D 'is mental health aid' “They found that compared to those with the highest vitamin D levels, those with the lowest were more than twice as likely to have impaired understanding. Alzheimer's charities said the research was interesting, but more work was needed to understand vitamin D's role. … Dr Iain Lang from the Peninsula Medical School, who worked on the study, said: "For those of us who live in countries where there are dark winters without much sunlight, like the UK, getting enough vitamin D can be a real problem - particularly for older people, who absorb less vitamin D from sunlight. "One way to address this might be to provide older adults with vitamin D supplements. "This has been proposed in the past as a way of improving bone health in older people, but our results suggest it might also have other benefits. “

Vitamin D may reduce decline in mental agility “"When we adjusted for all these other health and lifestyle factors we still found that there was a link between vitamin D and the cognitive outcome." The researchers do not know exactly how vitamin D and mental agility may be connected but said possible suggestions include the vitamin's role in increasing certain hormonal activity or the protection of neurons in the brain. They also stressed their findings should not spur people to bask in the sun, which can increase the risk of skin cancer.”

Vitamin D, Curcumin May Help Clear Amyloid Plaques Found In Alzheimer's Disease “UCLA scientists and colleagues from UC Riverside and the Human BioMolecular Research Institute have found that a form of vitamin D, together with a chemical found in turmeric spice called curcumin, may help stimulate the immune system to clear the brain of amyloid beta, which forms the plaques considered the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The early research findings, which appear in the July issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, may lead to new approaches in preventing and treating Alzheimer's by utilizing the property of vitamin D3 — a form of vitamin D — both alone and together with natural or synthetic curcumin to boost the immune system in protecting the brain against amyloid beta. … The synthetic curcuminoid compounds were developed in the laboratory of John Cashman at the Human BioMolecular Research Institute, a nonprofit institute dedicated to research on diseases of the human brain.Researchers found that naturally occurring curcumin was not readily absorbed, that it tended to break down quickly before it could be utilized and that its potency level was low, making it less effective than the new synthetic curcuminoids. "We think some of the novel synthetic compounds will get around the shortcomings of curcumin and improve the therapeutic efficacy," Cashman said. The team discovered that curcuminoids enhanced the surface binding of amyloid beta to macrophages and that vitamin D strongly stimulated the uptake and absorption of amyloid beta in macrophages in a majority of patients. … Fiala noted that this is early laboratory research and that no dosage of vitamin D or curcumin can be recommended at this point. Larger vitamin D and curcumin studies with more patients are planned.”



Blood pressure lowering in patients without prior cerebrovascular disease for prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia. (Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009)

Chronic green tea consumption prevents age-related changes in rat hippocampal formation. (Neurobiol Aging. 2009)

Cognitive activities delay onset of memory decline in persons who develop dementia. (Neurology. 2009)

Dietary fish and meat intake and dementia in Latin America, China, and India: a 10/66 Dementia Research Group population-based study (Am J Clin Nutr 2009) “Results: Dietary intakes and the prevalence of dementia varied between sites. We combined site-specific Poisson regression prevalence ratios (PRs) for the association between fish and meat consumption and dementia in 2 fixed-effect model meta-analyses adjusted for sociodemographic and health characteristics and fish and meat consumption as appropriate. We found a dose-dependent inverse association between fish consumption and dementia (PR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.91) that was consistent across all sites except India and a less-consistent, dose-dependent, direct association between meat consumption and prevalence of dementia (PR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.31). Conclusions: Our results extend findings on the associations of fish and meat consumption with dementia risk to populations in low- and middle-income countries and are consistent with mechanistic data on the neuroprotective actions of omega-3 (n–3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids commonly found in fish. The inverse association between fish and prevalent dementia is unlikely to result from poorer dietary habits among demented individuals (reverse causality) because meat consumption was higher in those with a diagnosis of dementia.”

Duration of antihypertensive drug use and risk of dementia. A prospective cohort study. (Neurology. 2009)

Effect of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on brain lipid fatty acid composition, learning ability, and memory of senescence-accelerated mouse. (J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2008) “This study demonstrates that, in mature animals, DHA is incorporated into brain phospholipids and that dietary n-3 PUFA is associated with delay in cognitive decline.”

Less Alzheimer disease neuropathology in medicated hypertensive than nonhypertensive persons. (Neurology. 2009)

Long-term association of food and nutrient intakes with cognitive and functional decline: a 13-year follow-up study of elderly French women. (Br J Nutr. 2009) “These results are consistent with a possible long-term neuroprotective effect of dietary fibre, n-3 polyunsaturated fats and B-group vitamins, and support dietary intervention to prevent cognitive decline.”

Midlife Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Dementia in Later Life in Swedish Twins. (Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009)

Omega-3 fatty acids and dementia. (Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009)

Physical Activity, Diet, and Risk of Alzheimer Disease (JAMA. 2009) “Conclusion In this study, both higher Mediterranean-type diet adherence and higher physical activity were independently associated with reduced risk for AD. “

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