15 Factors Linked To Young-Onset Dementia (M)

Almost 400,000 people are diagnosed with young-onset dementia around the world each year.

Almost 400,000 people are diagnosed with young-onset dementia around the world each year.

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This Lively Pursuit Beats Cycling And Walking To Keep Your Brain Young

This pursuit slows and can even reverse age-related physical and mental decline.

This pursuit slows and can even reverse age-related physical and mental decline.

Dancing keeps your brain young, research finds.

Compared with exercise like cycling and Nordic walking, dancing has more profound effects.

Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, said:

“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity.

In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age.

In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.”

Hippocampus boost

People in the study had an average age of 68.

For 18 months, they either went to weekly dance classes or they had endurance and flexibility training.

Brain scans revealed the exercise was beneficial for both groups, but the dancing gave a bigger boost.

The hippocampus — the area linked to memory — increased in size.

The endurance program was quite repetitive, with a lot of Nordic walking and cycling.

Dr Rehfeld said the dancing was different:

“We tried to provide our seniors in the dance group with constantly changing dance routines of different genres (Jazz, Square, Latin-American and Line Dance).

Steps, arm-patterns, formations, speed and rhythms were changed every second week to keep them in a constant learning process.

The most challenging aspect for them was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor.”

Dancing is challenging

The extra challenge linked to learning to dance is thought to be the cause of the extra benefit.

Dr Rehfeld said:

“Right now, we are evaluating a new system called “Jymmin” (jamming and gymnastic).

This is a sensor-based system which generates sounds (melodies, rhythm) based on physical activity.

We know that dementia patients react strongly when listening to music.

We want to combine the promising aspects of physical activity and active music making in a feasibility study with dementia patients.”

Dr Rehfeld concluded:

“I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible.

Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline.

I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Rehfeld et al., 2017).

These Supplements Slow Cognitive Decline By 60%

Participants who took the supplements for three years had brains that were almost two years younger.

Participants who took the supplements for three years had brains that were almost two years younger.

Taking a daily multivitamin slows cognitive decline by 60 percent, a study shows.

Participants who took the multivitamin for three years had brains that were almost two years younger.

The multivitamin was particularly useful for those suffering from cardiovascular disease.

People with cardiovascular disease are at a higher risk of cognitive impairment.

Professor Laura D. Baker, the study’s first author, said:

“There’s an urgent need for safe and affordable interventions to protect cognition against decline in older adults.”

The conclusions come from a study of over 2,000 people aged over 65.

The study tested the effects of a multivitamin versus a control group, as well as cocoa extract.

Professor Baker explained the results:

“Our study showed that although cocoa extract did not affect cognition, daily multivitamin-mineral supplementation resulted in statistically significant cognitive improvement.

This is the first evidence of cognitive benefit in a large longer-term study of multivitamin supplementation in older adults.”

There are several micronutrients that are required for healthy body and brain function that may be deficient in older adults.

This might explain the study’s findings.

Professor Baker, though, was cautious:

“It’s too early to recommend daily multivitamin supplementation to prevent cognitive decline.

While these preliminary findings are promising, additional research is needed in a larger and more diverse group of people.

Also, we still have work to do to better understand why the multivitamin might benefit cognition in older adults.”

The study was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia (Baker et al., 2022).

2 Personality Traits That Protect Against Dementia (M)

Some people who have quite extensive damage to their brains from dementia can continue to function well, perhaps because of these personality traits.

Some people who have quite extensive damage to their brains from dementia can continue to function well, perhaps because of these personality traits.

People who score highly on the personality traits of extraversion and conscientiousness are less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, a study finds.

However, those who are neurotic are at an increased risk of a dementia diagnosis.

Experiencing more negative emotions was also linked by the research to a higher risk of dementia, while positive emotions lowered the risk.

The theory is that personality and the emotions make people more or less resilient against dementia by influencing behaviour.

Signs of pathology

The conclusions come from a review of 8 separate studies including over 44,000 people.

The study looked at markers of neurodegeneration in the brain, explained Dr Eileen Graham, study co-author:

“We’ve seen in previous research that if someone is higher in neuroticism, they have higher odds of being clinically diagnosed with dementia, whereas those higher in conscientiousness have lower odds of developing dementia.

However, those clinical diagnoses are typically based on assessments of cognition.

We wondered how personality traits might be related to clinically diagnosed dementia compared to dementia based on neuropathology markers assessed at autopsy.”

They found that while personality was linked to dementia risk, it was not explained by any signs of pathology in the brain.

Dr Emorie Beck, the study’s first author, said:

“This was the most surprising finding to us.

If personality is predictive of performance on cognitive tests but not pathology, what might be happening?”

Withstanding dementia

A probable explanation is that some personality traits help people withstand the onset of dementia better than others.

For example, conscientious people are more likely to take care of their health, including eating well.

Perhaps the higher sociability of extraverted people also helps protect them against dementia.

Some people who have quite extensive damage to their brains from dementia may continue to function well because of these personality traits.

It may be possible to target personality traits to reduce dementia risk, said Dr Graham:

“Neuroticism is related to dementia decline, and people with neuroticism are more prone to anxiousness, moodiness and worry whereas conscientious people are more likely to exercise, make and go to preventive health appointments and drink less.

So maybe that’s where an intervention might be useful to improve someone’s health behaviors for better health outcomes.”

No other factors, including gender, age or education explained the link between dementia risk and personality, said Dr Beck:

“We found almost no evidence for effects, except that conscientiousness’s protective effect increased with age.”

Related

The study was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia (Beck et al., 2023).

A Vitamin-Like Nutrient Linked To 28% Lower Dementia Risk

People with the highest intakes had a 28 percent lower risk of dementia, the study found.

People with the highest intakes had a 28 percent lower risk of dementia, the study found.

Choline, a vitamin-like essential nutrient, may reduce the risk of dementia, research finds.

People with the highest intake of phosphatidylcholine, a form of choline, had a 28 percent lower risk of dementia, the study found.

Choline is mainly found in meat and, like omega-3 fatty acids, is an essential nutrient that has to be obtained from food.

This vitamin-like essential nutrient is also produced by the liver, but the amount is too small for the body’s requirements.

Choline is part of lecithin, which is known for its effect in treating memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

National dietary surveys show that choline intake on average is low in the US, Europe and Australia.

Good sources of choline include:

  • Egg yolk,
  • beef,
  • fish,
  • chicken,
  • wheat germ,
  • soy beans,
  • dairy products,
  • peanuts,
  • and almonds.

The study included 2,497 men in Finland who were followed for an average of 22 years.

They were asked about their lifestyle and dietary habits and given tests of memory and cognitive processing.

The results revealed that men with the highest intake of phosphatidylcholine had a 28 percent lower risk of developing dementia and better scores on tests of memory and thinking.

The two main sources of phosphatidylcholine in their diet were eggs and meat.

Ms Maija Ylilauri, the study’s first author, cautioned:

“However, this is just one observational study, and we need further research before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.”

Danger of veganism

Recent research warned that vegans may be putting their brain health at risk.

A vegan diet can increase the risk of brain malnutrition and damage due to lack of essential nutrients, such as choline.

Choline is not only essential for brain health but also influences liver function as shortfalls in this nutrient can cause cell damage and irregularities in fat metabolism.

The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Ylilauri et al., 2019).

This Sleep Pattern Is Tied To Higher Dementia Risk

Sleep disturbance is common in dementia, but the reason is unclear.

Sleep disturbance is common in dementia, but the reason is unclear.

Getting less REM sleep — the phase in which we dream — is linked to dementia, a study finds.

During sleep the brain cycles between periods of deep sleep and then up towards shallower periods of sleep in which we tend to dream, whether we remember those dreams or not.

During REM sleep the eyes move rapidly from side-to-side (hence Rapid Eye Movement Sleep).

Brain activity also increases and our pulses quicken.

Dr Matthew P. Pase, the study’s first author, said:

“Sleep disturbances are common in dementia but little is known about the various stages of sleep and whether they play a role in dementia risk.

We set out to discover which stages of sleep may be linked to dementia and while we did not find a link with deep sleep, we did with REM sleep.”

The research involved 321 people, average age 67, who were followed for 12 years.

The results showed that people who eventually developed dementia spent less time in REM sleep than those that did not.

For each 1% decrease in REM sleep, the dementia risk increased 9%.

In this study, average REM sleep for those that did not develop dementia was 20%.

For those that did develop dementia it was 17%.

Dr Pase said:

“Our findings point to REM sleep as a predictor of dementia.

The next step will be to determine why lower REM sleep predicts a greater risk of dementia.

By clarifying the role of sleep in the onset of dementia, the hope is to eventually identify possible ways to intervene so that dementia can be delayed or even prevented.”

The other stages of sleep were not linked to dementia, the researchers found.

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Pase et al., 2017).

One Cup Of These 2 Fruits Per Day Stops Cognitive Decline

The types of fruit that can reduce cognitive aging and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s in midlife.

The types of fruit that can reduce cognitive aging and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s in midlife.

Daily consumption of strawberries or blueberries may lower the odds of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged men and women.

According to a study, both strawberries and blueberries contain effective antioxidants that help prevent the risk of late-life dementia.

Midlife adults can get the optimal health effect if consuming at least one cup of whole strawberries or blueberries per day.

Anti-aging antioxidants

A group of antioxidants called anthocyanins are responsible for the red, purple, or blue pigments of fruits and flowers.

Studies show that these antioxidants, due to their anti-inflammatory effect, can lower the risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes and cancer.

Berries are rich in anthocyanins and several nutrients such as ellagic acid, that is known for its anti-aging effects, and improving memory and other cognitive skills.

Professor Robert Krikorian, the study’s first author, said:

“Both strawberries and blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been implicated in a variety of berry health benefits such as metabolic and cognitive enhancements.

There is epidemiological data suggesting that people who consume strawberries or blueberries regularly have a slower rate of cognitive decline with aging.”

Slow cognitive decline

Around half of the American adult population with prediabetes are middle-aged.

This group are more vulnerable to memory loss and cognitive decline.

Past research has suggested that eating strawberries can boost cardiovascular health by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose levels.

This study investigated whether strawberry consumption provides any health benefit in overweight middle-aged individuals with self-reported cognitive decline.

Professor Krikorian said:

“This study assessed whether strawberry consumption might improve cognitive performance and metabolic health in this population, and if so, whether there might be an association between cognitive enhancement and reduced metabolic disturbance.”

One cup of strawberries

The participants in this study received every day a sachet of strawberry powder, equal to one cup of whole strawberries, for 3 months.

During the study period, the participants took various tests to measure their cognitive abilities such as long-term memory, as well as their emotional state such as mood, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.

The strawberry-treated group experienced a significant reduction in memory interference.

Professor Krikorian said:

“Reduced memory interference refers to less confusion of semantically related terms on a word-list learning test.

This phenomenon generally is thought to reflect better executive control in terms of resisting intrusion of non-target words during the memory testing.”

Furthermore, the strawberry-treated participants also experienced less depressive symptoms.

Professor Krikorian said the positive effects can be due to:

“…enhanced executive ability that would provide better emotional control and coping and perhaps better problem-solving.”

Lowering brain inflammation

Other studies have found that higher consumption of strawberries improves metabolic measures such as lowering insulin levels.

Professor Krikorian pointed out:

“Those studies generally used higher dosages of strawberry powder than in our research, and this could have been a factor.”

It seems the improvement of cognitive function by eating strawberries could be due to decreased brain inflammation.

Professor Krikorian said:

“Executive abilities begin to decline in midlife and excess abdominal fat, as in insulin resistance and obesity, will tend to increase inflammation, including in the brain.

So, one might consider that our middle-aged, overweight, prediabetic sample had higher levels of inflammation that contributed to at least mild impairment of executive abilities.

Accordingly, the beneficial effects we observed might be related to moderation of inflammation in the strawberry group.”

Related

The study was published in the journal of Nutrients  (Krikorian et al., 2023).

This Relationship Quality Slashes Dementia Risk By 60%

It provides an extra layer of protection against dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.

It provides an extra layer of protection against dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.

Being married or in a close relationship almost halves the risk of developing dementia, research finds.

It is likely because those in close relationships have an extra layer of protection against depression.

Depression is a known risk factor for dementia.

Professor Eef Hogervorst, who led the study, explained it could also be down to a healthier lifestyle:

“It might be because other studies often found that married men on average have healthier lifestyles than single men – such as better diets, less alcohol, less smoking and more and earlier health services visits.

Another explanation could be that married couples will try to cope with dementia symptoms on their own for longer before health services are involved.”

The six-year study tracked 6,677 people aged between 52 and 90 to look at the connection between close relationships and Alzheimer’s disease.

It emerged that relationship quality was more important in protecting people against dementia than quantity of relationships.

Professor Hogervorst continued:

“Single people will need help to cope with their symptoms earlier.

Not being married almost doubled the risk for developing dementia.

On the other hand, having close relationships independently reduced the risk by 60%.

We did not find that social isolation per se increased risk but that feeling lonely did, by 44%.”

Along with being single, other risk factors for dementia included heart disease, hypertension, and depression.

Professor Hogervorst said:

“We know that depression and heart disease risk factors are risk factors for dementia.

And, loneliness had a similar strength of association as the heart disease risk factors.

This has been mentioned before for other morbidities where loneliness was said to be as bad for health as smoking.

We are social creatures and reduction of stress through social support may be more important than previously thought.”

Enhancing older people’s relationship quality could be one key to staving off dementia.

Professor Hogervorst said:

“Being lonely can be associated with depression and this has been associated with dementia.

As most people with dementia stay at home most of the time, we try to use technology to do activities which include others, such as modified forms of Facebook, cognitive stimulation therapy and exercises in virtual groups.”

The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology (Rafnsson et al., 2017).

The Personality Trait Linked To Dementia

At least 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.

At least 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.

Having moderate or severe anxiety in midlife is linked to dementia later on, research finds.

Anxiety is strongly linked to the personality trait of neuroticism, which includes sadness, irritability and self-consciousness.

The extra risk could be related to the stress caused by a mental health condition.

The stress response to anxiety could accelerate the aging process in the brain, increasing cognitive decline.

Depression has already been linked to a doubling of the risk in developing dementia.

Tackling anxiety and depression in midlife could be a way to reduce dementia risk, the study’s authors write:

“Non-pharmacological therapies, including talking therapies, mindfulness-based interventions, and meditation practices, that are known to reduce anxiety in midlife, could have a risk-reducing effect, although this is yet to be thoroughly researched.”

The study was a meta-analysis, a type of research that pools together the results of other studies.

The researchers found four large studies examining the link between dementia and anxiety that together included almost 30,000 people.

All four studies found that moderate to severe anxiety was linked to developing dementia later on.

The researchers write:

“Clinically significant anxiety in midlife was associated with an increased risk of dementia over an interval of at least 10 years.”

Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression have been linked to dementia before and many overlapping symptoms make a dementia diagnosis difficult.

This review took a high-quality approach, combining findings from four existing studies exploring anxiety as a risk factor for dementia.

[…]

It’s important to remember that just because there is an association between the two factors does not necessarily mean that anxiety causes dementia.

Dementia is caused by a complex mix of risk factors including age and genetics and although this study looked at dementia in people more than ten years after being diagnosed with anxiety, we know the diseases leading to dementia can begin in the brain up to twenty years before any symptoms show.”

The study was published in the journal BMJ Open (Gimson et al., 2018).

Reduce Brain Aging By Eating This Once A Week

The food that protects against cognitive decline.

The food that protects against cognitive decline.

Eating seafood once a week, or food that contains omega-3 fatty acids, may protect against age-related memory loss.

The study found that people who ate seafood less than once a week had a steeper mental decline with age.

Dr Martha Clare Morris, who led the study, said:

“This study helps show that while cognitive abilities naturally decline as part of the normal aging process, there is something that we can do to mitigate this process.”

For the research, 915 people were followed for around 5 years.

They all came from retirement communities and public housing in Illinois and their average age was over 80.

All had memory tests and reported how much seafood they ate.

This included foods like fish cakes, tuna sandwiches, shrimp and crab.

The results showed that people who ate more seafood had better semantic memory: this is something like general knowledge.

Consuming more seafood was also linked to stronger perceptual skills.

The study was published in the journal Neurology (van de Rest et al., 2016).

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