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HomeLatest NewsBrain-destroying disease: Scientists discover unexpected risk factors for dementia

Brain-destroying disease: Scientists discover unexpected risk factors for dementia

Date: April 17, 2024 Time: 09:58:39

There is currently no effective cure for dementia. But there are chances to reduce the threat and curb the disease if it is detected as early as possible.

Photo: Shutterstock

The older we or our relatives get, the more afraid we are of being forgotten. If in youth it can still be attributed to lack of sleep, inattention, laughing at the “memory of the girl”, then with age the specter of dementia looms ever larger. In fact, this is a manifestation of brain degradation. The rate of memory deterioration, mental abilities accelerates, the ability to navigate in space, count, reason and speak is impaired.

Unfortunately, medicine cannot yet effectively treat dementia. But there are chances to reduce the threat and curb the disease if it is detected as early as possible. What have scientists recently learned about dementia risk factors? What signs are now used to diagnose diseases associated with brain degradation? We discussed this with a psychiatrist-narcologist, psychotherapist Alexander Polikarpov.


– More than 50 million people in the world had dementia in 2020, according to the latest WHO data.

– The number of people with dementia is increasing by 10 million each year.

– 74.7 million people on Earth will suffer from dementia in 2030, according to expert forecasts.


– Alexander Viktorovich, which of the recent studies shed light on new unexpected risk factors for dementia?

– A team of scientists from the University of Chicago has identified a link between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and reduced sense of smell. It turned out that in people older than 69, who have the genetic variant associated with the highest AD risk, their sense of smell worsens on average by 37%.

– Is there an explanation?

– It is known that in Alzheimer’s disease, the toxic protein beta-amyloid accumulates in the brain. Certain areas of the cerebral cortex are responsible for odor recognition. It turned out that amyloid accumulations can also occur in them, and this leads to a violation of the sense of smell.

From the editor: After the arrival of the coronavirus, humanity was covered by a veritable epidemic of problems with the recognition of smells. It is not yet known whether such complications can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases that lead to dementia. In any case, if the sense of smell does not recover within 5-6 months after suffering from covid, experts advise consulting a neurologist and undergoing an examination. In particular, CT scans and MRIs can be prescribed to assess the state of the substance of the brain and the vessels that feed it.


– Another study showed that a common type of heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation (also called atrial fibrillation. – Ed.), increases the overall risk of developing dementia by 40% and its vascular forms by 90%, continues Alexander Polikarpov. . – But here is the good news: if the patient disciplinedly takes the medicines prescribed by the doctor, the risk is reduced by 60%.

In general, it is cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, that carry one of the greatest threats to our brain, cardiologists warn. So, a chronic increase in blood pressure can cause not only headaches, but also memory impairment, said academic cardiologist Yuri Belenkov in an interview with KP. It turns out that the conscious intake of blood pressure pills protects not only our hearts, but also our brains.

“Scientific papers have also recently appeared that found an association between an increased risk of dementia and long-term use of acid-reducing drugs (proton pump inhibitors, PPIs), says Dr. Polikarpov.

Chronic high blood pressure can cause not only headaches, but also memory impairment.

Photo: Shutterstock

At the same time, it should be noted that while we are still talking about a direct causal relationship, scientists say. It is possible that the very need to take PPIs arises in people who have a greater tendency to develop dementia.

How to be here? Gastroenterologists give the following advice:

1. Take acid-reducing medicines strictly in the dosage and within the time prescribed by the doctor. Don’t self medicate!

2. With prolonged use (more than 3-4 months), the absorption of vital elements: magnesium, calcium, iron may be impaired. Discuss this with your doctor; these problems are easily eliminated by taking the appropriate medications after diagnosis.

3. If you have to drink PPI for medical reasons for years, have regular examinations by a neurologist. On average annually, if problems arise (forgetfulness, fatigue, dizziness), sign up for the next appointment.


– Research shows that women are at higher risk of developing dementia. And in both sexes, this risk increases after the age of 65. At the same time, starting from the age of 40-45, modern people experience a decrease in the speed of information processing (what we call “thinking a lot.” – Ed.), – says Alexander Polikarpov.

The pronunciation of the slowdown in mental abilities depends on several factors, the doctor notes. In particular, the brain “slows down” more:

– with physical and mental overwork;

– under stress;

– if a person has cardiovascular diseases that are not compensated by taking prescribed medications;

– when consuming alcohol or drugs;

– after a traumatic brain injury.

“A study of 28,815 older people with concussion found that the risk of developing dementia doubled after the injury,” says Dr. Polikarpov. – At the same time, those who took statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs. – Ed.), The risk of dementia was 13% lower compared to patients who did not take such drugs. This appears to be because statins can reduce brain swelling, oxidative stress, amyloid protein aggregation (buildup), and inflammation.

And it has also been noted that the threat of brain degradation grows in social isolation, adds the expert. “In older people with a lack of social stimuli (read: simple human communication), the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases leading to dementia increases,” Irina Milyukhina, director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Brain Institute Human. , confirmed to KP.


What about ecology?

Studies show that high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, fine particles from car exhaust, and particles from burning wood are associated with a higher incidence of dementia, explains Alexander Polikarpov. In animal models, air pollutants were found to accelerate neurodegenerative processes in the brain.


How is dementia diagnosed?

If dementia is suspected, instrumental (magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography of the brain) and clinical studies are prescribed. The second includes cognitive tests, the results of which are evaluated by a specialist (there is no point in trying this on your own).

“Among the new products is a diagnostic method proposed by Swedish scientists,” Alexander Prokopov told KP. – Includes a blood test for various indicators and 3 cognitive tests. The accuracy in determining the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease is up to 90%.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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