What causes dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and could lead to the loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to surrounding environment. Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
It can seriously affect a person’s ability to conduct daily activities. In 2020, as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease. Of those, 80% are 75 years old and older. Out of the approximately 50 million people worldwide with dementia, between 60% and 70% are estimated to have Alzheimer's disease. Other diseases and conditions can also cause dementia, with Alzheimer’s being the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Younger people may get Alzheimer’s disease, but it is less common. The number of people living with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65. This number is projected to triple to fourteen million people by 2060. Symptoms of the disease can first appear after age 60, and the risk increases with age.
Can excessive napping lead to dementia?
Boston medical researchers in a new groundbreaking study have discovered a “vicious cycle” between daytime napping and Alzheimer’s dementia.
The Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers found a link between the two: Excessive daytime napping predicted an increased future risk of Alzheimer’s dementia, and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia sped up the increase in daytime napping during aging.
Our results not only suggest that excessive daytime napping may signal an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s dementia, but they also show that faster yearly increase in daytime napping may be a sign of deteriorating or unfavored clinical progression of the disease,” said Peng Li, of the Medical Biodynamics Program in the Brigham’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders.The authors admit that the limitations to the study are that it does not identify if Alzheimer’s disease is the reason the subjects are sleeping in the daytime or is the result of the daytime sleep. However, the study may also be limited in that sleep apnea may be the cause of poor sleep, poor brain oxygenation and possibly resulting in both daytime sleep and onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The results; however, are interesting enough to show the need for further research in the association of sleep disturbance and poor long term brain function.
Can sinus infection cause Alzheimer's?
New research from Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research at Menzies Health Institute Queensland conducted by Associate Professor Jenny Ekberg and colleagues has shown that a bacterium commonly present in the nose, Chlamydia pneumoniae, can invade the brain via the nerves of the nasal cavity and sneak into the brain and set off a cascade of events that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
While this bacterium often is a main culprit in respiratory tract infections, it has also been found in the brain which has raised the question of whether it causes damage to the central nervous system.
The research team has performed extensive research in animal models to show not only how the bacteria gets is able to break through the blood-brain barrier and reach the brain, but also how it leads to Alzheimer’s disease pathologies.
“We have suspected for a long time that bacteria, and even viruses, can lead to neuroinflammation and contribute to initiation of Alzheimer’s disease, however, the bacteria alone may not be enough to cause disease in someone. It requires the combination of a genetic susceptibility plus the bacteria to lead to Alzheimer’s disease in the long term,” says Dr. Ekberg.
This new evidence may allow researchers the ability to find treatments to stop this contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease. These can be drugs that allow other cells in the brain to kill the bacteria or vaccines to stop the bacteria from attaching to the nasal mucosa. The research will have major future implications, believe Dr. Ekberg and her team.
Does folic acid deficiency cause dementia?
Many studies have shown prevalence of Folate and B12 deficiency in the aging population In a recent study researchers saw “evidence suggests that serum folate deficiency increases the likelihood of deficits in cognitive performance and neurological functioning.”
The research was done by a cohort study that analyzed the medical records of 27,188 people ages 60–75 years. These individuals had no preexisting Alzheimer’s disease for at least 10 years before having their blood folate levels checked.
The researchers monitored records for a dementia diagnosis or death. Around 13% of the participants — or 3,418 — had serum folate levels below 4.4 nanograms per milliliter, which indicates folate deficiency.
Among the individuals with insufficient amounts of folate, the rates of overall dementia were higher, and the rate of overall death was doubled.
After factoring in co-occurring conditions, such as diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, cognitive decline, and depression, the researchers associated folate deficiency with a 68% higher risk of a dementia diagnosis.
The participants with folate deficiency had three times the risk of dying from any cause. The researchers understand the limitations of a cohort study but also feel the results may have public health benefits.
Dr. Merrill one of the study participants feels yearly or biannual testing of Folate and B12 levels may be helpful for people with a family history of dementia or approaching middle and later life. *
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common type of neurodegenerative disease leading to dementia in the elderly. Increasing evidence indicates that folate plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of AD.
The researchers found that those people who got the most folic acid, or folate, from foods and supplements were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. *
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*"These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Clarke R, Grimley Evans J, Schneede J, Nexo E, Bates C, Fletcher A, Prentice A, Johnston C, Ueland PM, Refsum H, Sherliker P, Birks J, Whitlock G, Breeze E, Scott JM. Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency in later life. Age Ageing. 2004 Jan;33(1):34-41. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afg109. PMID: 14695861.
- Murphy, M Paul, and Harry LeVine 3rd. “Alzheimer's disease and the amyloid-beta peptide.” Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD vol. 19,1 (2010): 311-23. doi:10.3233/JAD-2010-1221
- Do we need vitamin B12?. [Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Medicalnewstoday.com. Dementia and folate: Is there a link? [Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Bacteria in the Nose Can Sneak Into the Brain – May Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. [Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Menzies Health Institute Queensland. [Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Alzheimer's study: Boston researchers find 'vicious cycle' between daytime napping and Alzheimer's dementia. [Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Brigham and Women's Hospital | Mass General Brigham. [Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Vicious cycle’ found between excessive napping and Alzheimer’s.[Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Alzheimer's disease - Symptoms and causes. [Accessed 31 March 2022].
- Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet. [Accessed 31 March 2022].
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