In honor of World Alzheimer’s Month, here is a recap of the most recent studies and findings about Alzheimer’s Disease.
Per a study on over 500 aging seniors published September 24, 2014 byRichard Kryscio, PhD from the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging in Lexington, healthy elderly people who begin reporting memory lapses are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia within 9 years and 80% were diagnosed with dementia within 12 years, with smokers transitioning to mild cognitive impairment in a shorter time. Carriers of the APOE e4 allele had 2 times the odds of experiencing brain impairment.
Published online September 24, 2014, a study of 3,857 people without dementia aged 65 years and older determined long sleep duration is associated with 58% increased risk of dementia-specific mortality as reported on the death certificate. Long sleepers are 9 hours or more, short sleepers are 5 hours and the reference category is 6-8 hours of sleep.
Research published September 18, 2014 in Current Biology by Julia Sacher, MD, PhD, of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany showed one dose of a common antidepressant can quickly alter brain cell communication. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors affect the entire brain’s connectivity immediately, the first step in brain remodeling for drugs to improve symptoms.
A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley published September 14, 2014 in the journal Nature Neuroscience explains how some older adults with beta-amyloid brain deposits retain normal cognitive function while others develop dementia. It is still not clear why some people with the deposits are better at using different parts of their brain than others. The findings are evidence of beneficial plasticity or compensation ability in aging brains faced with beta-amyloid accumulation.
The study by Kristine S. Alexander, PhD, University of Vermont in Burlington published September 10, 2014 in Neurology links AB blood type and higher factor VIII to increased risk of memory loss and cognitive impairment. It was assessed by cognitive domain tests over a mean of 3.4 years of follow-up with genotyping of blood groups of 495 cases with cognitive impairment and 587 controls.
The study published in the July 16, 2014 in JAMA Neurology by Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, shows Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be delayed or prevented by consuming foods high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). View the DHA Omega 3 website for a list of dietary sources of vegetables, grains, fish, seeds and nuts, fruits, oils high in these healthy PUFAS.
A study from Finland of 1,260 people aged 60–77 at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease presented in July 2014 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark found that with lifestyle changes after two years, the seniors performed significantly better on memory tests, problem-solving exercises, and quick-thinking quizzes. Half received nutritional guidance, physical exercise, brain training, social activities, and management of heart health risk factors and the rest just regular health advice. It is the first study to definitively show change of lifestyle reduces risk for cognitive decline. The study authors plan 7 year follow-up tracking incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s, including brain imaging scans.
The World Alzheimer’s Report 2014(PDF) : Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors finds reduction of dementia risk factors should be incorporated into national and global public health programs according to the organization Alzheimer’s Disease International. It states low education in early life, midlife hypertension, and smoking and diabetes across the lifespan display the strongest evidence of dementia causations. Prevention should be encouraged by improved diabetes detection and treatment, smoking cessation, increased physical activity, obesity reduction to reduce cardiovascular and metabolic disease strongly associated with dementia.
Watch the video about the study which showed that use of drugs like Valium and Xanax longer than 3 months increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 51 percent.