Obesity in 30’s increases risk of dementia in later life

A new study has found that people who are obese in their early to mid-life face more risk of dementia in their later lives, with the ones in their 30’s facing triple the risk.

A new study has found that people who are obese in their early to mid-life face more risk of dementia in their later lives, with the ones in their 30's facing triple the risk.

The researchers used the anonymised data from hospital records for the whole of England for the period 1999-2011, and data in which obesity had been recorded were then searched for any subsequent care for, or death from, dementia.

During the study period, 451 232 of those admitted to hospital in England were diagnosed with obesity, 43 percent of whom were men.

The analysis revealed an incremental decrease in overall risk of hospital admission for dementia the older a person was when a diagnosis of obesity was first recorded, irrespective of gender.

For those aged 30-39, the relative risk of developing dementia was 3.5 times higher than in those of the same age who were not obese. For those in their 40s, the equivalent heightened risk fell to 70 percent more; for those in their 50s to 50 percent more; and for those in their 60s to 40 percent more.

People in their 70s with obesity were neither at heightened or lowered risk of developing dementia, while those in their 80s were 22 percent less likely to develop the disease, the findings indicated.

There were some age differences between the risk of developing vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, with those in their 30s at greater risk of both. A diagnosis of obesity in the 40s through to the 60s was associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia, while the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was lower in those diagnosed with obesity from their 60s onwards.

The researchers concluded that while obesity at a younger age was associated with an increased risk of future dementia, obesity in people who had lived to about 60-80 years of age seemed to be associated with a reduced risk

Source: yahoo news

Slow walking speed may be early dementia sign

There may be a new way to diagnose early signs of dementia: a walking speed and memory test. In a study published in Neurology, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center in New York developed a test to screen the speed of someone’s walking, combined with their cognitive complaints. They believe this test could help diagnose motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR), thought to be an early sign of dementia.

Slow walking speed may be early dementia sign

In 22 studies from 17 countries involving 26,802 healthy adults ages 60 and older, researchers found that one in 10 exhibited MCR signs— meaning a slow gait of less than 1 meter per second in addition to cognitive complaints. The scientists followed up with 4,812 of the participants over a 12-year period. People who had MCR indicators were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those who did not exhibit MCR signs.

The test may help people prevent the development of dementia by motivating them to adopt healthier lifestyles and get more exercise if they know they’re at a higher risk. Also, the test could help doctors uncover other possible medical reasons for someone’s MCR, such as hypertension or high cholesterol.

The researchers noted that further research is needed to analyze a connection between MCR and dementia risk.

Source: health central

Dementia progress ‘achingly slow’ says global envoy

Dementia progress 'achingly slow'

Progress on research and treatment for dementia has been “achingly slow”, an expert says ahead of a London summit.

Dr Dennis Gillings said a pledge by G8 countries to find a cure or treatment by 2025 would be “impossible” without better incentives for investment. Dr Gillings, appointed world dementia envoy by UK PM David Cameron six month ago, called for faster and cheaper clinical trials for dementia drugs.

Hosting the event, the PM will call for a “big, bold global push” on dementia.

He is expected to pledge a new drive by the UK to discover new drugs and treatment for the condition, and a focus on how to bring forward specific proposals on patent extensions as well as how to give patients earlier access to new drugs.

Mr Cameron is expected to tell the summit: “In the UK alone there are around 800,000 people living with dementia, worldwide that number is 40m – and it is set to double every 20 years. “We have to fight to cure it. I know some people will say that it’s not possible, but we have seen with cancer what medicine can achieve.”

‘Special case’
Six months since the UK hosted a G8 summit on the disease at which the 2025 target was set, the prime minister is speaking at a follow-up event in central London where he will commit to accelerating progress on dementia drugs.

Experts and health officials from other G8 countries are expected to attend. Dr Gillings warned: “Just as the world came together in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we need to free up regulation so that we can test ground-breaking new drugs.

“The amount of scrutiny by regulators is considerable, but there probably needs to be a special case made for dementia by regulators so they can help move things through more quickly…

“Simplify the clinical trials process or simplify the sort of data being demanded.”

Source: bbc news

Regular Aerobic Exercise May Prevent Dementia

Take up regular aerobic exercise to slow down the advance of dementia and other signs of cognitive decline, a study suggests.

Such exercise seems to boost the size of the area of the brain (hippocampus) involved in verbal memory and learning among women whose intellectual capacity has been affected by age.

For the study, the researchers tested the impact of different types of exercise on the hippocampal volume of 86 women who said they had mild memory problems, known as mild cognitive impairment – and a common risk factor for dementia.

All the women were aged between 70 and 80 years old and were living independently at home.

Roughly equal numbers of them were assigned to either twice weekly hour long sessions of aerobic training (brisk walking); or resistance training, such as squats, and weights; or balance and muscle toning exercises, for a period of six months.

The size of their hippocampus was assessed at the start and the end of the six month period by means of an MRI scan, and their verbal memory and learning capacity was assessed before and afterward using a validated test (RAVLT).

Only 29 of the women had before and after MRI scans, but the results showed that the total volume of the hippocampus in the group who had completed the full six months of aerobic training was significantly larger than that of those who had lasted the course doing balance and muscle toning exercises.

The study appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Source: Zee news

Healthy diet lowers dementia risk later in life

A new study suggests that healthy dietary choices in midlife may prevent dementia in later years.

The results showed that those who ate the healthiest diet at the average age of 50 had an almost 90 percent lower risk of dementia in a 14-year follow-up study than those whose diet was the least healthy.

The study was the first in the world to investigate the relationship between a healthy diet as early as in midlife and the risk of developing dementia later on.

The researchers assessed the link between diet and dementia using a healthy diet index based on the consumption of a variety of foods. Vegetables, berries and fruits, fish and unsaturated fats from milk products and spreads were some of the healthy components, whereas sausages, eggs, sweets, sugary drinks, salty fish and saturated fats from milk products and spreads were indicated as unhealthy.

Previous studies on diet and dementia have mainly focused on the impact of single dietary components.

“But nobody’s diet is based on one single food, and there may be interactions between nutrients, so it makes more sense to look at the entire dietary pattern,” Marjo Eskelinen, MSc, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis in the field of neurology, said.

Higher intake of saturated fats linked to poorer cognitive functions and increased risk of dementia

The doctoral thesis, published at the University of Eastern Finland, was based on the population-based Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Ageing and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) study.

Source: zee news

Alzheimer’s disease may kill as many as cancer in US

Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease are under-reported in the United States and the most common form of dementia may be taking as many lives as heart disease or cancer.

Alzheimer’s disease currently ranks sixth among causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease is first, and cancer second.

But researchers reported in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, that Alzheimer’s-linked deaths could be six times more common than thought.

“Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are under-reported on death certificates and medical records,” said study author Bryan James of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“Death certificates often list the immediate cause of death, such as pneumonia, rather than listing dementia as an underlying cause.”

For the study, researchers followed more than 2,500 people aged 65 and older who were tested annually for dementia.

A total of 559 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease during the course of the study, and the average time span from diagnosis to death was four years.

People aged 75 to 84 who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s were also four times more likely to die than those without it.

One third of all deaths among those aged 75 and older were attributable to Alzheimer’s disease, said the study.

According to James, the findings would translate to an estimated 503,400 deaths from Alzheimer’s in the US population over age 75 in 2010.

That figure is six times higher than the 83,494 reported by the CDC based on death certificates.

“Determining the true effects of dementia in this country is important for raising public awareness and identifying research priorities regarding this epidemic,” said James.

Source: Channel news asia


Eating eggs may halt memory loss and lower the risk of dementia

EGGPLATEScientists are investigating whether eating eggs may prevent memory loss and lower the risk of dementia.

In the six-month U.S. study, half of the participants will have two eggs a day, and will be compared with a control group who won’t have eggs.

Both groups will be tested for memory, reasoning, verbal fluency and attention span – a decline in these is a major risk factor for the development of dementia later in life.
Eggs are one of the best sources of two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which previous research suggests can improve cognitive function.

The researchers, from Tufts University in the U.S., expect there will be ‘a significant increase’ in the mental functioning in the group given eggs.

Super-laser targets ugly caesarean scars
Laser therapy is being tested as a way to reduce caesarean scarring. One in four births in this country is now by caesarean and the surgery can leave a prominent, raised or even painful scar across the abdomen.

Now, a clinical trial is looking at laser therapy to tackle this. The light is thought to trigger chemical reactions in the skin, which stimulates the growth of new tissue, as well as ‘remodelling’ the scar tissue.

The device being tested is six times more powerful than other types of lasers, and is said to penetrate four times deeper into the abdominal tissue, up to 4mm.
Women on the Danish trial at Aarhus University Hospital will have three treatments – scar thickness will be measured before and after.

Cabbage patch to soothe sore joints

Could covering your knee with cabbage ease sore joints?
Cabbage, which is shredded and mixed with warm water to form a poultice, has been used as a traditional remedy for joint pain and skin complaints.

Now, doctors are comparing the benefits of a cabbage poultice with diclofenac gel, an anti-inflammatory commonly used to ease joint pain.

Around 80 people with osteoarthritis of the knee will be given the cabbage dressing, the gel or their usual care, in the trial at Universitat Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

Just how cabbage might help is not clear, but it contains glutamine, a constituent of glucosamine – this compound occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in building cartilage.

Source: Daily Mail

Monthly injection to prevent Alzheimer’s in five years

Scientists are hopeful of a breakthrough in dementia within five years – with drugs that could be given to prevent disease

Scientists are hopeful of a breakthrough in dementia within five years – with drugs that could be given preventively to delay the onset of disease.

Researchers say a new drug has shown some promise in patients with mild dementia, and might be yet more effective if given to those at risk of disease long before they show any symptoms.

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said scientists were “full of hope” that a breakthrough in drug therapy to prevent dementia could come within five years.

If further trials on the drug succeed, it could mean that those with a family history of dementia are given monthly injections of the drug a decade before any signs of disease show – in the same way that millions of people now take statins to ward off heart disease, he said.
Speaking ahead of a G8 summit next week on dementia, Dr Karran said trials have suggested that a drug called solanezumab may delay the onset of disease, halting problems with brain function and behaviour in those with mild dementia.

The studies originally tested the drug on patients with mild to moderate dementia, where the treatement did not achieve effective results.
But when analysis examined the impact of the drug only on those with mild dementia, researchers found it had an effect both on their daily behaviour and the functioning of their brain and memory.
Now researchers in the US are recruiting to a new study which will examine the impact only on patients with mild dementia.

If the trials prove that the drugs work, it would be “logical” to prescribe them to patients preventively, Dr Karran said, given that changes in the brain associated with dementia occur as far as a decade before symptoms are shown.
Dr Karran said the promise from the drug, and from two other treatments now undergoing trials, left him optimistic that a breakthrough is on the horizon, despite years of disappointment in the field of dementia research.

He said: “I am full of hope that we are going to have a breakthrough in five years.”
If trials on sufferers with mild dementia succeed, “there is a logic” to use the drug therapies at least a decade earlier, to prevent the onset of dementia, he said, in the same way that statins have been widely prescribed for those at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“That’s exactly the path that blood pressure-lowering agents have taken – people taking them before they have a stroke,” he said. “It’s the path that’s been taken with statins which first showed efficacy against the disease and then you go earlier. That has to be the pathway we take. There is very very good human genetic data which shows that if you can effect this amyloid early on – and only modestly – you have the potential to dealy the onset of that disease very significantly indeed.”

Currently, the only drugs used for dementia can mask symptoms, but do not delay the onset of disease.
Brain scans have found that changes in the brains of patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s can occur a decade before you have symptoms.

Providing people with anti-body drugs five or 10 years before the condition would otherwise develop could have a “drastic impact” on prevalence of disease, he said.
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “If we can delay the onset by five years we could probably cut the numbers with dementia in yhalf – and recent research evidence suggests this could be a possibility.”

Prof Nick Fox, from the Institute of Neurology, at University College London, said that preventing disease before symptoms were present offered the best “window of opportuntity” to halt the impact of disease.

He said: “Let’s just hope that we can slow the devastation at the stage when there is much to save … rather then when we are bed bound or mute – because that is the end result of these dreadful diseases.”
Next week science and health ministers from G8 countries will meet in London for the first ever G8 dementia summit.

Charities called on them to draw up a shared global plan to tackle dementia, and invest heavily in research, which currently receives a fraction of the funds devoted to cancer in this country.
David Cameron has said he will use the UK’s presidency of the G8 to lead coordinated international action.

Source: Telegraph

Exercise Beneficial For Dementia

Exercise may benefit older people with dementia by improving their cognitive functioning and ability to carry out everyday activities, according to a new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library. However, the authors of the review did not see any clear effect of exercise on depression in older people with dementia and say that more evidence is needed to understand how exercise could reduce the burden on family caregivers and health systems.

Due to people living longer, rates of dementia are expected to rise sharply in the coming decades. Dementia affects the brain in different ways and is associated with effects on memory and personality. It is thought that exercise might be useful in treating dementia or slowing its progression, through improvements in the ability to carry out everyday tasks and positive effects on mental processes such as memory and attention, collectively described as cognitive functioning. Exercise may therefore indirectly benefit family caregivers and the healthcare system by reducing some of the burden of dementia.

The study updates a Cochrane review carried out in 2008, when only four trials on the effects of exercise in older people with dementia were available. In the updated review, data from eight trials involving 329 people showed that exercise could improve cognitive functioning. Data from six studies involving 289 people showed that exercise could improve the ability of older people with dementia to carry out daily activities, such as walking short distances or getting up from a chair.

“In our previous review, we were unable to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of exercise in older people with dementia, due to a shortage of appropriate trials,” said researcher, Dorothy Forbes, an Associate Professor of Nursing who works at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. “Following this new review, we are now able to conclude that there is promising evidence for exercise programs improving cognition and the ability to carry out daily activities. However, we do still need to be cautious about how we interpret these findings.”

The researchers remain cautious because there were substantial differences among the results of individual trials. In addition, they did not find enough evidence to determine whether exercise improved challenging behaviours or depression in older people with dementia. They were unable to come to any conclusions regarding quality of life, or benefits for family caregivers and health systems, because there was not enough evidence.

However, the researchers suggest that if more evidence becomes available in future, it may help to address the question of whether exercise can help people with dementia remain at home for longer. “Clearly, further research is needed to be able to develop best practice guidelines to enable healthcare providers to advise people with dementia living at home or in institutions,” said Forbes. “We also need to understand what level and intensity of exercise is beneficial for someone with dementia.”

Source: Red orbit

Fruit flies may harbor dementia cure

Researchers have taken a significant step forward in unraveling the mechanisms of Pavlovian conditioning and understanding this will help understand how memories form and, ultimately, provide better treatments to improve memory in all ages.

“Memory is essential to our daily function and is also central to our sense of self. To a large degree, we are the sum of our experiences. When memories can no longer be retrieved or we have difficulty in forming new memories, the effects are frequently tragic. In the future, our work will enable us to have a better understanding of how human memories form,” Gregg Roman, an associate professor of biology and biochemistry at University of Houston’s said.

Roman along with his team studied the brains of fruit flies (Drosophila). Within the fly brain, Roman said, there are nerve cells that play a role in olfactory learning and memory.

Roman said they found that these particular nerve cells- the gamma lobe neurons of the mushroom bodies in the insect brain- are activated by odours. Training the flies to associate an odour with an electric shock changed how these cells responded to odours by developing a modification in gamma lobe neuron activity, known as a memory trace.

They found that training caused the gamma lobe neurons to be more weakly activated by odours that were not paired with an electric shock, while the odours paired with electric shock maintained a strong activation of these neurons. Thus, the gamma lobe neurons responded more strongly to the trained odour than to the untrained odour.

The team also showed that a specific protein – the heterotrimeric G(o) protein – is naturally involved in inhibiting gamma lobe neurons.

Roman said removing the activity of this protein only within the gamma lobe neurons resulted in a loss of the memory trace and, thus, poor learning. Therefore, inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters from these neurons through the actions of the G(o) protein is key to forming the memory trace and associative memories.

The significance of using fruit flies is that while their brain structure is much simpler with far fewer neurons, the mushroom body is analogous to the perirhinal cortex in humans, which serves the same function of sensory integration and learning.

The study was published in journal Current Biology.

Times of India