An Obvious Sign of Increased Dementia Risk (S)

The sign was linked to a 54% increase in risk of dementia.

The sign was linked to a 54% increase in risk of dementia.

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The Common Painkiller That Could Treat Alzheimer’s (S)

Alzheimer’s could be helped by one of the most widely used over-the-counter medications in the world.

Alzheimer's could be helped by one of the most widely used over-the-counter medications in the world.

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7 Steps To Keep Your Brain Healthy (S)

High blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol all contribute to reducing blood flow to the brain over time.

High blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol all contribute to reducing blood flow to the brain over time.

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The Common Drink Linked To Alzheimer’s (S)

The drink made genetic changes to microglial cells, degrading their functioning.

The drink made genetic changes to microglial cells, degrading their functioning.

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This Blood Pressure Reading Increases Dementia Risk 45% (S)

Italian researchers discover early sign of dementia related to high blood pressure.

Italian researchers discover early sign of dementia related to high blood pressure.

Only somewhat elevated blood pressure in mid-life increases the risk of developing dementia by 45%, new research concludes.

Fifty-year-olds with blood pressure of more than 130/80 had the increased risk, a new study of over 9,000 people in the UK has found.

This level is only somewhat elevated (120/80mmHg is the top of the ideal range) and below the level at which hypertension is normally treated with drugs.

The damage from elevated blood pressure seems to accumulate over time, said study author Professor Archana Singh-Manoux:

“Our analysis suggests that the importance of mid-life hypertension on brain health is due to the duration of exposure.

So we see an increased risk for people with raised blood pressure at age 50, but not 60 or 70, because those with hypertension at age 50 are likely to be ‘exposed’ to this risk for longer.”

Detecting dementia early

In related findings, Italian researchers have been able to detect the earliest signals of neurological damage related to high blood pressure using a more powerful brain scanner.

It is hoped the finding will allow scientists to spot the damage when there is still a chance to treat it.

Dementia begins to damage the brain long before any symptoms emerge — at this point it is usually too late to treat it.

Professor Giuseppe Lembo, study author, said:

“The problem is that neurological alterations related to hypertension are usually diagnosed only when the cognitive deficit becomes evident, or when traditional magnetic resonance shows clear signs of brain damage.

In both cases, it is often too late to stop the pathological process”

The results come from hypertension patients given brain scans with a powerful 3-tesla MRI machine.

They found that people with high blood pressure had damage to critical parts of their brains.

They also scored lower on standard cognitive tests of processing, memory, learning and executive function.

Mr Lorenzo Carnevale, the study’s first author, said:

“We have been able to see that, in the hypertensive subjects, there was a deterioration of white matter fibers connecting brain areas typically involved in attention, emotions and memory,

An important aspect to consider is that all the patients studied did not show clinical signs of dementia and, in conventional neuroimaging, they showed no signs of cerebral damage.

Of course, further studies will be necessary, but we think that the use of tractography will lead to the early identification of people at risk of dementia, allowing timely therapeutic interventions.”

The studies were published in the European Heart Journal and the journal Cardiovascular Research (Abell et al., 2018Carnevale et al., 2018).

Alzheimer’s Reversed By Asthma Drug (S)

“The research could soon be translated to the clinic, to human patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

"The research could soon be translated to the clinic, to human patients with Alzheimer's disease."

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Many Antidepressants Tied To Higher Dementia Risk, Large Study Finds (S)

Safer alternatives should be considered by doctors, the researchers advise.

Safer alternatives should be considered by doctors, the researchers advise.

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This Sleep Pattern Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Usually neurons shrink while we sleep, allowing waste products to clear.

Usually neurons shrink while we sleep, allowing waste products to clear.

A single night of lost sleep increases proteins in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s, new research shows.

People not allowed to sleep for one night showed elevated levels of beta amyloid, the clumps of protein seen in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

As these build up, they hamper the brain’s ability to function.

Dr Ehsan Shokri-Kojori, the study’s first author, said:

“We certainly show that even oe night of sleep deprivation can increase the levels of these harmful beta amyloid compounds.

That’s a very logical assumption, I would say, and it’s consistent with prior research.”

The researchers recruited 20 healthy people who were allowed to sleep normally one night and were kept up the next night.

Brain scans were used to assess levels of beta amyloid.

Dr Ehsan Shokri-Kojori explained:

“…the beta amyloid increases were observed in regions of the brain important to memory and thought.

These included the hippocampus, which has been tied to memory, and the thalamus, which is an important hub for relaying sensory information to the brain.”

Usually, while we sleep, neurons in the brain get smaller, which allows waste products to be cleared.

Dr. Andrew Varga, a sleep scientist not connected to the study, said:

“It makes intuitive sense that if you have chronically high levels of beta amyloid they would congregate together and form plaques, but that piece of it is not fully fleshed out.”

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Shokri-Kojori et al., 2018).

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