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Alzheimer's Disease - Dementia
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Alzheimer's Disease - Dementia
"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
"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
Abdominal Fat at Middle Age Associated With Greater Risk of Dementia: Obesity Linked to Lower Total Brain Volume “"More importantly our data suggests a stronger connection between central obesity, particularly the visceral fat component of abdominal obesity, and risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Seshadri added.”
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Linked to Alzheimer's “People with atrial fibrillation, a form of abnormal heart rhythm, are more likely than others to develop dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds. The presence of atrial fibrillation also predicted higher death rates in dementia patients, especially among younger patients in the group studied, meaning under the age of 70. "This leaves us with the finding that atrial fibrillation, independent of everything else, is a risk factor [for dementia]," said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "This is adding one more brick in the road toward understanding that cardiovascular disease is a major risk factor for dementia."”
Brain Plaques May Explain Higher Risk of Alzheimer's Based on Mom's History “Aided by a new version of a brain scanning technique, the researchers discovered a far greater number of protein clumps linked to the disease among healthy adult children of parents with Alzheimer's compared to counterparts with no family history of dementia. The average increase in these clumps, called amyloid-beta plaques, was particularly striking among study volunteers whose mothers had been diagnosed with the disease. The plaques appeared throughout most regions of the brain.”
Childhood Malnutrition Could Weaken Brain Function in Elderly “According to the study, women who suffered from childhood hunger were 35 percent more likely to have cognitive impairment at age 65 or older, while men who suffered from childhood hunger had a 29 percent higher chance.”
Excess Weight in Older Women Linked to Diminished Memory “Middle-aged women who are overweight may have yet another motivation to take off those excess pounds: The more a postmenopausal woman weighs, the worse her memory, researchers have found. What's more, the negative impact on memory was more pronounced in "pear-shaped" women who carry excess weight around their hips, and less of a factor in "apple-shaped" women who carry it around their waists, the study authors noted. In the new study, researchers found that for every one point increase in a woman's body mass index (BMI), her score on a standard memory test -- though still in the normal range -- dropped by one point. BMI is a measurement that takes into account height and weight.”
Gene makes people fat, raises Alzheimer's risk “A variant of an obesity gene carried by more than a third of the U.S. population also reduces brain volume, raising carriers' risk of Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said on Monday. People with a specific variant of the fat mass and obesity gene, or FTO gene, have brain deficits that could make them more vulnerable to the mind-robbing disease. "The basic result is that this very prevalent gene not only adds an inch to your waistline, but makes your brain look 16 years older," said Paul Thompson, a professor of neurology at the University of California Los Angeles, who worked on the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
Hospital Stays Raise Dementia Risk “The researchers found that older patients who had been hospitalized for a non-critical illness had a 40% higher risk of dementia. Follow-up mental test scores were also lower in participants who had been hospitalized compared to those who had not. "The mechanism of this association is uncertain," the researchers write. "Hospitalization may be a marker for cognitive decline or dementia that has not been diagnosed. [But] these results also could suggest that factors associated with acute illness, and to a greater degree with critical illness, may be causally related to cognitive decline." “
Hypertension Linked To Dementia In Older Women “The small blood vessels in the brain are especially susceptible to damage from even moderately elevated blood pressure - resulting in damage to the white matter served by those vessels. The brain's white matter is composed of whitish myelin-coated axons (nerve cell appendages) that allow nerve cells to communicate with each other and help the regions of the brain work together. Several studies have found that damage to white matter, as indicated by the presence of WMLs, seems to be an independent risk factor for dementia. The current study reinforces earlier research showing that hypertension plays a role in causing dementia, suggesting that preventing hypertension from developing - through weight loss, exercise or other lifestyle changes - would be beneficial.”
Losing Sleep, Losing Brain? “Chronic and severely stressful situations, like those connected to depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, have been associated with smaller volumes in "stress sensitive" brain regions, such as the cingulate region of the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory formation. A new study, published by Elsevier in Biological Psychiatry, suggests that chronic insomnia may be another condition associated with reduced cortical volume.”
Medications Found to Cause Long Term Cognitive Impairment of Aging Brain, Study Finds “"Simply put, we have confirmed that anticholinergics, something as seemingly benign as a medication for inability to get a good night's sleep or for motion sickness, can cause or worsen cognitive impairment, specifically long-term mild cognitive impairment which involves gradual memory loss. As a geriatrician I tell my Wishard Healthy Aging Brain Center patients not to take these drugs and I encourage all older adults to talk with their physicians about each and every one of the medications they take," said Malaz Boustani, M.D., IU School of Medicine associate professor of medicine, Regenstrief Institute investigator and IU Center for Aging Research center scientist.”
Mercury Exposure May Contribute to Alzheimer's Risk “Inorganic mercury, which is still widely used in dental amalgams, is likely a contributing cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD) according to a systematic review of 106 studies published in the November issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Overall, investigators found that symptoms and features of AD were reproduced or accelerated when mercury was introduced. As a result of these findings, the researchers, led by Harald Walach, PhD, European University Viadrina, in Frankfurt, Germany, are calling for "the removal of mercury from public and ecologic circuits and replacing it wherever possible by less toxic alternatives. This would be a sensible public health measure that is supported by the current data."”
Smoking May Thin the Brain “Smokers exhibited cortical thinning in the left medial orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, their cortical thickness measures negatively correlated with the amount of cigarettes smoked per day and the magnitude of lifetime exposure to tobacco smoke. In other words, heavier smoking was associated with more pronounced thinning of cortical tissue. The orbitofrontal cortex has frequently been implicated in drug addiction. The current findings suggest that smoking-related cortical thinning may increase the risk for addictions, including smoking. "Since the brain region in which we found the smoking-associated thinning has been related to impulse control, reward processing and decision making, this might explain how nicotine addiction comes about," explained Dr. Simone Kühn. "In a follow-up study, we plan to explore the rehabilitative effects of quitting smoking on the brain." "The current findings suggest that smoking may have a cumulative effect on the brain," noted John Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Yale University. "This concerning finding highlights the importance of targeting young smokers for antismoking interventions." “
Smoking Raises Alzheimer's Risk “Heavy smoking in midlife more than doubles your odds of developing Alzheimer's disease, a Kaiser Permanente study said Monday.”
Atherosclerosis, dementia, and Alzheimer disease in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of aging cohort (Annals of Neurology 2010)
Atrial fibrillation is independently associated with senile, vascular, and Alzheimer's dementia. (Heart Rhythm. 2009) “CONCLUSION: AF was independently associated with all forms of dementia.”
Effects of Apolipoprotein E-E4 and -E2 in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in Shanghai: SCOBHI-P (American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias 2010) “Conclusions: APOE- 4 increases and - 2 decreases the risk of dementia vs normal cognition. Similar trends were observed for amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).”
Evidence for three loci modifying age-at-onset of Alzheimer's disease in early-onset PSEN2 families. (Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2010)
Genetics of dementia (Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 2010)
Heavy Smoking in Midlife and Long-term Risk of Alzheimer Disease and Vascular Dementia (Arch Intern Med. 2010) “Conclusions In this large cohort, heavy smoking in midlife was associated with a greater than 100% increase in risk of dementia, AD, and VaD more than 2 decades later. These results suggest that the brain is not immune to long-term consequences of heavy smoking. “
Hypertension, Executive Dysfunction, and Progression to Dementia (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions Hypertension predicts progression to dementia in older subjects with executive dysfunction but not memory dysfunction. Control of hypertension could prevent progression to dementia in one-third of the subjects with cognitive impairment, no dementia.”
Iatrogenic Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease: Surgery and Anesthesia. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “Increasing evidence indicates that patients develop post-operative cognitive decline (POCD) following surgery. POCD is characterized by transient short-term decline in cognitive ability evident in the early post-operative period. This initial decline might be associated with increased risk of a delayed cognitive decline associated with dementia 3 to 5 years post-surgery. In some studies, the conversion rate to dementia are up to 70% in patients who are 65 years or older. The factors responsible for the increased risk of dementia are unclear; however, clinical studies investigating the prevalence of POCD and dementia following surgery do not show an association with the type of anesthesia or duration of surgery.”
Increased Fructose Intake as a Risk Factor For Dementia. (J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010)
Longitudinal Examination of Obesity and Cognitive Function: Results from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (Neuroepidemiology 2010) “Conclusion: Obesity indices showed similar associations to cognitive function, and further work is needed to clarify the physiological mechanisms that link obesity to poor neurocognitive outcome.”
Midlife psychological stress and risk of dementia: a 35-year longitudinal population study (Brain 2010) “To conclude, we found an association between psychological stress in middle-aged women and development of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.”
Midlife Smoking, Apolipoprotein E and Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease: A Population-Based Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia Study. (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010) “Conclusion: Midlife smoking was associated with an increased risk of dementia and AD later in life only among those individuals carrying the APOE e4 allele. These results suggest that the association between smoking and AD may be complex and vary according to genotype.”
[Risk factors for Alzheimer disease] (Brain Nerve. 2010)
The Arsenic Exposure Hypothesis for Alzheimer Disease (Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders 2010)
The risks of copper toxicity contributing to cognitive decline in the aging population and to Alzheimer's disease. (J Am Coll Nutr. 2009) “Food copper (organic copper) is processed by the liver and is transported and sequestered in a safe manner. Inorganic copper, such as that in drinking water and copper supplements, largely bypasses the liver and enters the free copper pool of the blood directly. This copper is potentially toxic because it may penetrate the blood/brain barrier.”
The role of lipoproteins and inflammation in cognitive decline: Do they interact? (Neurobiol Aging. 2010)
Vascular Risk Profiles for Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease in Very Old People: A Population-Based Longitudinal Study. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “These data suggest that aggregation of atherosclerotic- and hypoperfusion-related vascular factors increases the risk of dementia in very old people. Severe cerebral atherosclerosis and insufficient perfusion are involved in the development of dementia including AD.”
Volume Loss of the Medial Temporal Lobe Structures in Subjective Memory Impairment (Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders 2010) “Conclusion: Volume reduction of bilateral hippocampus, bilateral EC and right amygdala supports the concept of SMI as a very early manifestation of AD prior to MCI. SMI may indicate awareness of a degenerative process that can still be functionally compensated.”
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