What Is MCI And Why Do 99% Of Physicians Underdiagnose It? (M)

MCI is typically diagnosed when people have age-related problems with memory and thinking, but can still live independently.

MCI is typically diagnosed when people have age-related problems with memory and thinking, but can still live independently.

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This Cause Of Dementia Is Linked To 66% Higher Risk

Evidence for a major cause of dementia confirmed.

Evidence for a major cause of dementia confirmed.

People with a higher body-mass index are more likely to develop dementia, research finds.

Being classed as overweight rather than in the normal range increases the dementia risk by 16-33%.

For a person who is 170cm (5’7″), for example, carrying an extra 14.5kg (32lbs) over the ideal weight, will increase their dementia risk between 16 and 33%.

Being classed as obese (an additional 14.5kg) adds the same amount of dementia risk again, making a total of up to 66%.

The study analysed data from 1.3 million adults in the US and Europe.

Professor Mika Kivimäki, the study’s first author, said:

“The BMI-dementia association observed in longitudinal population studies, such as ours, is actually attributable to two processes.

One is an adverse effect of excess body fat on dementia risk.

The other is weight loss due to pre-clinical dementia.

For this reason, people who develop dementia may have a higher-than-average body mass index some 20 years before dementia onset, but close to overt dementia have a lower BMI than those who remain healthy.

The new study confirms both the adverse effect of obesity as well as weight loss caused by metabolic changes during the pre-dementia stage.”

Previous studies have given conflicting messages about the effect of obesity on dementia.

Some have suggested more weight may have a protective effect, others, like this one, the reverse.

The study was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia (Kivimäki et al., 2017).

This Diet Lowers Cognitive Decline Risk By 17%

Adhering to this diet could not only lower the risk of heart disease but also boost cognitive function.

Adhering to this diet could not only lower the risk of heart disease but also boost cognitive function.

Heart healthy diets designed to lower blood pressure can also improve memory and thinking in later life.

According to a study, middle-aged women who adopt a blood pressure lowering diet are 17 percent less likely to experience signs of cognitive decline such as memory loss, poor thinking and reasoning years later.

Adhering to a healthy eating style such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH) not only lowers the risk of heart disease but also can boost cognitive function.

The study focused on women as over two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s disease are female.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, which gradually ruins memory and thinking skills.

It is estimated that nearly 7 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the figure is likely to double by 2060.

Professor Yu Chen, the study’s senior author, said:

“Subjective complaints about daily cognitive performance are early predictors of more serious neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

With more than 30 years follow-up, we found that the stronger the adherence to a DASH diet in midlife, the less likely women are to report cognitive issues much later in life.”

The DASH diet

The DASH diet plan involves eating lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and also includes fish, poultry, non-fat or low fat dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetable oils.

It also encourages eating foods that are high in magnesium, calcium, and potassium but limits foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and sodium.

The diet is mainly designed to combat high blood pressure and so the risk of heart disease but it also improves cognitive function.

Hypertension in middle-age is also a risk factor for vascular cognitive impairment, a condition that damages the brain’s blood vessels, leading to cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Start in midlife

The study enrolled 5,116 women with a 30-year follow up.

They assessed participants’ levels of cognitive impairment, which can potentially lead to dementia in later life.

Typical cognitive issues include forgetting recent events or conversations or failing to navigate familiar roads, or remember shopping lists.

The results showed that women who consumed the DASH diet were 17 percent less likely to have such cognitive problems.

Ms Yixiao Song, the study’s first author, said:

“Our data suggest that it is important to start a healthy diet in midlife to prevent cognitive impairment in older age.”

Dr Fen Wu, study co-author, said:

“Following the DASH diet may not only prevent high blood pressure, but also cognitive issues.”

Related

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

Dementia: This Form Of Brain Stimulation Could Restore Memory (M)

Healthy adults who had the treatment displayed improved memory and the researchers are now going on to test the technique on patients with Alzheimer’s.

Healthy adults who had the treatment displayed improved memory and the researchers are now going on to test the technique on patients with Alzheimer's.

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The Vitamin Deficiency That May Double Cognitive Decline Risk

Those in the study with lower vitamin levels at the start were at double the risk of significant cognitive decline.

Those in the study with lower vitamin levels at the start were at double the risk of significant cognitive decline.

Low vitamin D levels increase the risk of cognitive decline and impairment among the elderly, research suggests.

Those in the study with lower vitamin D levels at the start were at double the risk of significant cognitive decline.

Older people with low vitamin D levels were also at two to three times the risk of going on to develop cognitive impairment later on.

Vitamin D is primarily produced in the body by the action of sunlight on the skin.

Vitamin D is important in maintaining healthy bones and muscles, as well as brain function.

It may be that vitamin D protects against neuron damage and loss.

Other studies have also linked low vitamin D levels to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative problems, such as dementia.

The conclusions come from a study of over 1,000 people in China over the age of 60.

Their vitamin D levels and cognitive abilities were assessed over two years.

The study’s authors write:

“In conclusion, our longitudinal study indicates that low 25(OH)D3 [vitamin D] levels are associated with subsequent cognitive decline and cognitive impairment.

Despite the lack of conclusive results from intervention studies, the weight of this and other epidemiological studies reinforce the importance of more intensive investigation on the effects of vitamin D supplements on cognitive decline.”

The study found the same link between low vitamin D levels and cognitive impairment regardless of age and gender.

Professor David Matchar, the study’s first author, said:

“Although this study was conducted on subjects from China, the results are applicable to regions in Asia where a large proportion of the elderly are ethnically Chinese, like Singapore.”

Getting enough vitamin D

During the darker months, taking 10 mcg of a vitamin D supplement is often recommended.

Another option is to ensure that your diet has enough vitamin D in it.

Foods that contain relatively high amounts of vitamin D include sardines, salmon, mackerel and herring.

Other foods high in vitamin D include egg yolks, liver, mushrooms and red meat.

Cereals and spreads are also typically fortified with vitamin D.

The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (Matchar et al., 2022).

These Hallucinations Are An Early Sign Of Parkinson’s (M)

In one-third of Parkinson’s patients these hallucinations manifest themselves before the characteristic trembling.

In one-third of Parkinson’s patients these hallucinations manifest themselves before the characteristic trembling.

Experiencing minor hallucinations, such as feeling someone is nearby when there is no one there, could be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease, a study finds.

Known as ‘presence hallucinations’, they are also occasionally felt by healthy people, but can be an early indicator of neurological dysfunction.

In Parkinson’s disease — which is chiefly known for producing tremors — hallucinations like these can predict more rapid cognitive decline and tend to appear early on.

Other minor hallucinations sometimes experienced by those with Parkinson’s include passage hallucinations, which consist of a fleeting glance of someone or something passing sideways and other visual hallucinations, such as mistaking a table for a dog.

Parkinson’s is often diagnosed too late — early interventions can help to slow the progression of the disease, so minor hallucinations could be a useful warning sign.

Professor Olaf Blanke, study co-author, said:

“We now know that early hallucinations are to be taken seriously in Parkinson’s disease.

If you have Parkinson’s disease and experience hallucinations, even minor ones, then you should share this information with your doctor as soon as possible.

So far, we only have evidence linking cognitive decline and early hallucinations for Parkinson’s disease, but it could also be valid for other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Decaying cognitive function

The study included 75 people, aged between 60 and 70 who had Parkinson’s disease.

The results showed that those with early hallucinations were more likely to display cognitive decline in executive function — the ability to plan and control behaviour.

Regular hallucinations are experienced by half of Parkinson’s patients, despite being a little-known symptom.

In one-third of patients hallucinations manifest themselves before the characteristic trembling.

Professor Blanke said:

“Detecting the earliest signs of dementia means early management of the disease, allowing us to develop improved and personalized therapies that try to modify the course of the disease and improve cognitive function.”

While presence hallucinations can be relatively minor at first, they may progress to more complex visual hallucinations later on.

Professor Blanke said:

“We aim to have an early marker to identify individuals at risk of a more severe form of Parkinson’s disease, characterized by a more rapid cognitive decline and dementia, based on hallucinations proneness.

And ideally identify those individuals even before hallucinations actually occur.

We are therefore developing neurotechnology methods and procedures for that purpose.”

Related

The study was published in the journal Nature Mental Health (Bernasconi et al., 2023).

The Vitamin-Like Deficiency Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease

Inadequate daily intake of this vitamin-like compound can lead to an enlarged heart, liver damage, weight gain as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Inadequate daily intake of this vitamin-like compound can lead to an enlarged heart, liver damage, weight gain as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

A deficiency in choline is linked to increased Alzheimer’s risk, research finds.

Choline is a vitamin-like essential nutrient produced in the liver, however, the amounts produced are too small for the body’s requirements.

Lecithin (a fatty substance) is the main source of choline found in egg yolk, beef, fish, chicken, wheat germ, soy beans, dairy products, peanuts, and almonds.

Choline is well known for its effect in treating memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

According to the US Institute of Medicine the minimum daily intake of choline for men is 550mg and 425mg for women.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women require at least 450mg and 550mg choline per day respectively, due to the crucial role of this nutrient in infant development.

Despite these daily requirements, national dietary surveys have found that less than 10 percent of Americans are meeting the recommendations.

Essential for brain health

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.

A study has examined how choline deficiency can adversely influence the brain, liver, and heart.

The research team found that dietary choline deficiency in mice led to weight gain, reduced glucose metabolism, enlargement of the heart, neurological alterations, and liver damage.

Choline deficiency also led to elevated levels of tau tangles and beta-amyloid plaques, two key features of Alzheimer’s disease.

Amyloid plaques are clustered proteins between the nerve cells and tau tangles are abnormal accumulations of tau proteins inside neurons.

Dr Ramon Velazquez, the study’s senior author, pointed out that choline deficiency in human contains two aspects:

“it’s a twofold problem.

First, people don’t reach the adequate daily intake of choline established by the Institute of Medicine in 1998.

And secondly, there is vast literature showing that the recommended daily intake amounts are not optimal for brain-related functions.”

The study shows a link between choline deficiency and a group of neurological and physical changes.

Adequate levels of choline, on the other hand, will improve overall health and protect the nervous system.

For example, elevated levels of homocysteine have been found to to be neurotoxic and associated with neurodegenerative diseases but choline can reduce homocysteine levels.

Another example is that acetylcholine a neurotransmitter synthesized from choline which is vital for cognitive functions including learning, memory, and attention.

These findings support other studies concerning the influence of dietary choline on human health.

The evidence may help people, particularly vegans and those on plant-based diets, to eat foods rich in choline.

The authors also explored proteins in the hippocampus, one of the brain areas wracked by Alzheimer’s.

Inadequate choline status appeared to affect hippocampal networks associated with postsynaptic membrane regulation and microtubule function — the two are vital for functions of the brain.

In addition, blood plasma samples revealed that choline deficiency caused alterations in certain proteins produced in the liver which are important for metabolic function.

Dr Velazquez said:

“Our work provides further support that dietary choline should be consumed on a daily basis given the need throughout the body.”

The study was published in the journal Aging Cell (Dave et al., 2023).

2 Portions Of This Food Halves Risk Of Memory Loss

Any variety may well have the beneficial effect as they all contain an antioxidant called ergothioneine.

Any variety may well have the beneficial effect as they all contain an antioxidant called ergothioneine.

Two portions of mushrooms a week halves the risk of memory loss, research finds.

Mild cognitive impairment, as it is known, is frequently a precursor to dementia.

It involves forgetfulness, along with problems with language and attention.

However, the problems are normally subtle — certainly more so than dementia.

Older people eating around half a plate of mushrooms per week, though, were at half the risk of developing the condition.

Even one small portion of mushrooms a week may be enough to have a meaningful effect, the scientists think.

Dr Lei Feng, the study’s first author, said:

“This correlation is surprising and encouraging.

It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline.”

The study involved over 600 people over 60-years-old in Singapore who were followed over six years.

They were tested for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) along with being asked about their dietary habits.

Dr Feng said:

“People with MCI are still able to carry out their normal daily activities.

So, what we had to determine in this study is whether these seniors had poorer performance on standard neuropsychologist tests than other people of the same age and education background.”

The study found that six commonly eaten mushrooms were linked to a 50 percent lower risk of cognitive decline.

These were:

  1. golden,
  2. oyster,
  3. shiitake,
  4. white button,
  5. dried,
  6. and canned mushrooms.

However, any variety of mushrooms may well have the beneficial effect as they all contain an antioxidant called ergothioneine.

Dr Irwin Cheah, study co-author, explained:

“We’re very interested in a compound called ergothioneine (ET).

ET is a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which humans are unable to synthesise on their own.

But it can be obtained from dietary sources, one of the main ones being mushrooms.”

The researchers will now conduct a randomised controlled trial of a pure compound of ET.

The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Feng et al., 2019).

The Alzheimer’s Early Warning Sign Most People Don’t Know

Damage to the brain can occur 15 to 20 years before the clinical symptoms appear.

Damage to the brain can occur 15 to 20 years before the clinical symptoms appear.

A disrupted body clock, leading to sleep problems, could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s, research finds.

Changes in the sleep cycle occur much earlier than memory problems or other symptoms of dementia.

The finding is an important sign because damage to the brain can occur 15 to 20 years before the clinical symptoms appear.

Dr Erik S. Musiek, the study’s first author, said:

“It wasn’t that the people in the study were sleep-deprived.

But their sleep tended to be fragmented.

Sleeping for eight hours at night is very different from getting eight hours of sleep in one-hour increments during daytime naps.”

Studies in people and animals have now linked poor sleep to higher levels of amyloid protein build-up in the brain.

Amyloid is thought to be a cause of Alzheimer’s.

Dr Musiek said:

“Over two months, mice with disrupted circadian rhythms developed considerably more amyloid plaques than mice with normal rhythms.

The mice also had changes in the normal, daily rhythms of amyloid protein in the brain. It’s the first data demonstrating that the disruption of circadian rhythms could be accelerating the deposition of plaques.”

For the study, 189 normal older adults with an average age of 66 were tracked.

50 of these turned out to have problems with sleep.

Dr Yo-El Ju, study co-author, said:

“In this new study, we found that people with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease had more fragmentation in their circadian activity patterns, with more periods of inactivity or sleep during the day and more periods of activity at night.”

It is not yet known if poor sleep is contributing to Alzheimer’s or whether it is a symptom of the disease’s early stages.

Dr Ju said:

“At the very least, these disruptions in circadian rhythms may serve as a biomarker for preclinical disease.

We want to bring back these subjects in the future to learn more about whether their sleep and circadian rhythm problems lead to increased Alzheimer’s risk or whether the Alzheimer’s disease brain changes cause sleep/wake cycle and circadian problems.”

The study was published in the journal JAMA Neurology (Musiek et al., 2018).

The Vitamin Deficiency That Triples Dementia Risk

Memory problems are one of the key symptoms of dementia.

Memory problems are one of the key symptoms of dementia.

A folate deficiency is linked to a tripling in the chance of developing dementia in older people, research finds.

Folates include vitamin B9, folacin and folic acid.

Healthy adults should get around 400mcg per day to prevent a deficiency.

Foods that are high in folates include leafy greens, beets, citrus fruits, broccoli, eggs and asparagus.

Folates are also usually contained in multivitamin supplements.

Low levels of vitamin B12 and folate have both been linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease by multiple studies.

This link has been observed by researchers for more than three decades.

A deficiency in B12 or folate can cause higher levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the body.

Homocysteine has a neurotoxic effect and could lead to neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.

For the current study, 518 people over the age of 65 were tracked for two years.

They were given blood tests for levels of folate, vitamin B12 and the protein homosysteine, along with cognitive tests.

The results showed that 45 people had developed dementia by the end of the study.

People who were deficient in folates were 3.5 times more likely to develop dementia, the researchers found.

Dementia was also more likely in people whose folate levels dropped over the two years of the study.

The study’s authors write:

“In this prospective study of a community population, lower
folate concentrations predicted incident dementia and AD over
a 2.4 year follow-up period…

Over the follow-up period, dementia occurred more commonly in those with a relative decline in folate and vitamin B12 concentrations or a relative increase in homocysteine concentrations.”

A good diet is repeatedly linked by research to a reduced risk of dementia.

One study has found that people who eat more nuts, fish, poultry and certain fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s, research finds.

Set against this, those who eat more red meats, organ meats, butter and high-fat dairy products have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s.

The study was published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (Kim et al., 2019).

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