Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

Latest news

  • A large, long-running study found that self-reported diet during midlife was not linked to later dementia risk.

A long-running study involving 8225 adults found that self-reported diet during midlife (mean age 50) was not significantly associated with subsequent risk for dementia.

  • A large, long-running study of middle-aged men found that higher dietary intake of choline was linked to a lower risk of dementia and better memory & verbal abilities.
  • A mouse study found that offspring of those given high amounts of choline showed better memory. Both mother and offspring showed lower levels of inflammation in the hippocampus.

Dietary choline linked to reduced dementia risk & better cognition

  • A large study found that higher levels of LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) were linked to a higher risk of early-onset Alzheimer's. There was no link between HDL levels and early-onset risk.
  • A long-running study of middle-aged women found that low levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with more vascular brain damage in later life.

High LDL linked to

  • Studies involving genetically engineered mice found that canola oil was linked to worse cognition, more amyloid plaques, and greater synapse loss, while extra-virgin olive oil was linked to fewer plaques, less inflammation, and better memory.

A mouse study has found that canola oil in the diet was associated with worsened memory, worsened learning ability, and weight gain in Alzheimer's mice.

  • A review of the safety and effectiveness of the four drugs approved for Alzheimer's treatment found that donepezil was the most effective, but also the most likely to produce side effects.
  • A small study found that combining a specific care management program with memantine multiplied the drug’s ability to improve daily function by about 7.5 times.

I rarely report on drugs, but because I do have a number of early reports on the four drugs approved for use with Alzheimer’s, I wanted to provide this update.

  • A large study found that mentally stimulating activities in mid-life and later were linked to a lower risk or delay of MCI.
  • A very large study found that the more regularly older adults played puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the better they performed on tasks assessing attention, reasoning and memory.
  • A review of 32 studies has concluded that mind-body exercises such as tai chi do help improve cognition in older adults.

Can computer use, crafts and games slow or prevent age-related memory loss?

  • A large, long-running study found those with a college education maintained good cognition substantially longer than those who didn't complete high school.
  • A very large online study found that higher levels of education were strong predictors of better cognitive performance across all ages (15-60 years), but this was more true for types of cognition such as reasoning and less true for processing speed.
  • A large study of older men found that their cognitive ability at age 20 was a stronger predictor of cognitive function later in life than other factors, such as higher education, occupational complexity or engaging in late-life intellectual activities.

Americans with a college education live longer without dementia and Alzheimer's

  • A very large, very long-running British study found that higher social contact at age 60 was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing dementia.
  • A 3-year study of older adults found that lower social engagement was only associated with greater cognitive decline in those with higher amyloid-beta levels.

Socially active 60-year-olds face lower dementia risk

  • Adults whose sleep quality declined in their 40s and 50s had more amyloid-beta in their brains later in life, while those reporting poorer sleep in their 50s and 60s had more tau tangles.
  • Greater tau protein was associated with less synchronized brainwaves during sleep.
  • Both amyloid-beta and tau levels increase dramatically after a single night of sleep deprivation, suggesting good sleep helps remove these proteins.
  • A large study found that older adults who consistently slept more than nine hours every night had twice the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease within the next 10 years.
  • A large Japanese study found that those with sleep durations of less than 5 hours or more than 10 hours were more likely to develop dementia. However, those with short sleep could mitigate the effect with high physical activity.
  • A largish 12-year study found that poorer REM sleep was associated with an increased dementia risk.
  • Sleep apnea has been linked to higher levels of tau in the entorhinal cortex, poorer attention and memory, and slower processing speed.
  • Those with the APOE4 gene may be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of sleep apnea.

Disrupted sleep in one's 50s, 60s raises Alzheimer's risk

  • A very large Korean study found older adults with chronic periodontitis had a 6% higher risk for dementia.
  • Two animal studies found that the bacteria involved in gum disease increases amyloid-beta, brain inflammation, and neuron death.

Periodontitis raises dementia risk

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