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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 Factors


Air Pollution Linked to Cognitive Decline in Women

Air Pollution May Raise Dementia Risk“The findings, part of a large and ongoing study of nurses in their 70s, found that long-term exposure to air pollution may speed up cognitive decline in older adults. Women who lived in areas with the worst quality air scored lower on tests of memory and thinking than those who lived in cleaner areas.”

Alzheimer Disease Risk Variant Discovered

Alzheimer's Signs Found in Brains of Young Adults With Gene Mutation

Bad Air Means Bad News for Seniors' Brainpower

Big meals in ‘memory loss link’ in elderly

Brain Function Disrupted in Healthy Women with Alzheimer’s Risk Gene “This study suggests that men who are found to carry a single copy of ApoE4 by genetic tests shouldn’t be assumed to be at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s. It also potentially explains why more women than men develop this disease. … There are three differing versions of the ApoE protein: E2, E3, and E4. Most people have two copies of the E3 version. A small percentage contain only copy of E3 and one of E2, and an even fewer percentage contain two copies of E2. The protein specified by the E4 gene seems to be defective in comparison to the one specified by either E2 or the E3. Only 10-15 percent of the population carry one copy of E4, but more than 50 percent of people who develop Alzheimer’s are E4 carriers. However, the heightened risk of E4 may be largely restricted to women.”

Carbs Are Bad, but Are Fats Good for Brain? “Older people who load their plates with carbohydrates have four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment -- often a precursor to Alzheimer's disease -- a new study at Mayo Clinic indicates. … The carb culprit appears to be the sugar that is created when carbohydrates are digested, said Roberts, a researcher for 20 years at Rochester's Mayo Clinic. …While those who get most of their calories from pasta, rice, bread and other carbohydrates were associated with much higher risk, people loading up with protein such as chicken and fish lowered the risk by 21 percent. Those with high use of fats from nuts and oils dropped the risk by 42 percent. That brain benefit came from all fats, not just unsaturated "good fats" like those from olive oil, nuts and avocados, Roberts said. "This may be one of the benefits of growing older," she said. "Cholesterol is bad for middle-aged hearts, and what's bad for hearts generally is bad for brains. But with older people, that may not be so true. All fats seem to be good for the brain, and perhaps not as bad for the heart as when they were younger." Still, the lesson from the study is "you need a balanced diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates," Roberts said, perhaps one like the Mediterranean diet, which relies heavily on poultry, vegetables and healthy fats. "Sugar fuels your brain, so you need some carbohydrates," she said. "But too much may stop the brain from using sugars effectively." … "When we get older, sometimes we simplify how they eat -- reach for a piece of fruit, drink more juice, that kind of thing. But those are simple carbohydrates, and they convert to sugars very easily," she warned. "It's better to eat more vegetables and less fruit."

Cognition and Incident Dementia Hospitalization: Results from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. (Neuroepidemiology. 2012)

Cognitive deterioration and associated pathology induced by chronic low-level aluminum ingestion in a translational rat model provides an explanation of Alzheimer's disease, tests for susceptibility and avenues for treatment. (Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2012)

Dental health linked to dementia risk

Depression in Mid-Life Linked to Higher Odds for Later Dementia

Disrupted sleep may predict Alzheimer’s

Higher Blood Pressure May Harm the Middle-Aged Brain, Study Finds “Structural damage was found even in the brains of young middle-aged people who had pre-hypertension, in which blood pressure is elevated but not to the level considered to be high blood pressure.”

Insulin-Linked Hormone May Also Raise Alzheimer's Risk

Know Your Risk Factors to Help Prevent Dementia

Late and early onset dementia: What is the role of vascular factors? A retrospective study. (J Neurol Sci. 2012)

Low Vitamin D Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

Multiple Risk Factors for Late-Life Dementia Identified

New Risk Variant for Alzheimer's Disease Discovered

NIH-funded research provides new clues on how ApoE4 affects Alzheimer's risk

NFL Players May Be at Higher Risk of Death from Alzheimer’s and ALS, Research Shows

Obesity in Middle Age Tied to More Rapid Mental Decline: Study “People who are obese and suffer from high blood pressure and other problems linked to heart disease and diabetes may also see a faster decline in their mental abilities, according to a new study by French researchers. Yet even obese people without these physical conditions experienced a faster decline in functions such as memory, the researchers noted. This finding belies the concept of being obese and healthy, they added.”

Overeating Tied to Increased Risk for Memory Loss “New data from the Mayo Clinic Study on Aging suggest that consuming between 2100 and 6000 calories per day may double the risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in adults aged 70 years and older. "We observed a dose-response pattern...: the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI," study author Yonas E. Geda, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, noted in a statement. … "We know that diet and physical exercise — 2 key Alzheimer's prevention strategies — also prevent diabetes, which increases the probability of developing Alzheimer's dementia," said Dr. Small, who is director of the university's Longevity Center. "Healthy lifestyle habits not only protect our brains but our bodies, too, as we age." “

Reduced Hippocampal Volume in Healthy Young ApoE4 Carriers: An MRI Study. (PLoS One. 2012)

Reduced Kidney Function Tied to Mental Decline

Shortened Telomere Length Associated With Risks for Dementia, Mortality

Risk of Dementia in Patients with Insomnia and Long-term Use of Hypnotics: A Population-based Retrospective Cohort Study. (PLoS One. 2012) “In conclusion, and based on our findings, we suggest giving careful consideration to prescribing BZD or non-BZD hypnotics to patients with long-term insomnia, especially those that are aged between 50 and 65 years. In addition, the lower the dosage and half-live values of the hypnotics used the better, because greater exposure to these medications leads to a higher risk of developing dementia.”

Smoking and Dementia

Smoking Linked to Cognitive Decline in Men

This Is Your Brain On Sugar: Study in Rats Shows High-Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning, Memory “A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning -- and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption. … "We're not talking about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which also contain important antioxidants," explained Gomez-Pinilla, who is also a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center. "We're concerned about high-fructose corn syrup that is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative." “

Vitamin D insufficiency and mild cognitive impairment: cross-sectional association (European Journal of Neurology 2012) “Low 25OHD concentrations were associated with MCI status in older non-demented community-dwellers with subjective memory complaint.”



Apolipoprotein e4-Allele as a Significant Risk Factor for Conversion from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer's disease: a Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies. (J Mol Neurosci. 2012)

Association between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and dementia syndromes. (Occup Environ Med. 2012)

Cardiovascular Risk Factors Promote Brain Hypoperfusion Leading to Cognitive Decline and Dementia (Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2012)

Carotid Atherosclerosis and Prospective Risk of Dementia (Stroke 2012)

Cigarette Smoking Accelerated Brain Aging and Induced Pre-Alzheimer-Like Neuropathology in Rats (PLoS One. 2012)

Cognitive Decline in Adults with Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment and High Amyloid-ß: Prodromal Alzheimer's Disease? (J Alzheimers Dis. 2012)

Coronary Artery Disease Is Associated with Cognitive Decline Independent of Changes on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Cognitively Normal Elderly Adults. (J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012)

Diacetyl, Artificial Butter Flavoring Ingredient Linked To Key Alzheimer's Disease Process “A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products. It found evidence that the ingredient, diacetyl (DA), intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer's disease.”

Does Helicobacter pylori Infection Increase Incidence of Dementia? The Personnes Agées QUID Study (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2012)

Epidemiological of and risk factors for Alzheimer‘s disease: A review (Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2012)

Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution and Cognitive Decline in Older Women (Arch Intern Med. 2012) “Long-term exposure to PM2.5-10 and PM2.5 at levels typically experienced by many individuals in the United States is associated with significantly worse cognitive decline in older women.”

Family history of Alzheimer disease predicts hippocampal atrophy in healthy middle-aged adults. (Neurology. 2012)

Feelings of loneliness, but not social isolation, predict dementia onset: results from the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL). (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2012)

Frailty syndrome and the risk of vascular dementia. The Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging. (Alzheimers Dement. 2012)

Kidney Dysfunction and Cognitive Decline in Women. (Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2012)

Hypertension is Associated With Cognitive Decline in Elderly People at High Risk for Dementia (American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2012) “These results suggest an increased risk of subsequent cognitive decline in hypertensive individuals who are especially vulnerable to developing dementia and raises the possibility that avoiding or controlling HTN might reduce the rate of cognitive decline in cognitively vulnerable individuals, potentially delaying their conversion to full-fledged dementia.”

Maternal Family History is Associated with Alzheimer's Disease Biomarkers. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2012)

Organochlorine pesticide levels and risk of Alzheimer's disease in north Indian population. (Hum Exp Toxicol. 2012)

Pulmonary Function as a Cause of Cognitive Aging. (Psychol Sci. 2012 )

Regional cerebral blood flow differences in patients with mild cognitive impairment between those who did and did not develop Alzheimer's disease. (Psychiatry Res. 2012)

Severe underweight and cerebral microbleeds. (J Neurol. 2012)

Spatial Working Memory Impairment in Subclinical Hypothyroidism: An fMRI Study. (Neuroendocrinology. 2012)

The significance of small cerebral bleeds in neurodegenerative dementia syndromes. (Aging Dis. 2012)

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