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Dementia Blog

Related terms: Chronic Brain Syndrome, DLB

Use of Certain Allergy, Depression Meds Tied to Higher Odds for Dementia

Posted 26 Jan 2015 by

MONDAY, Jan. 26, 2015 – Long-term and/or high-dose use of a class of medications used for hay fever, depression and other ills has been linked in a new study to a higher risk of dementia. The drugs – called anticholinergics – include nonprescription diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and tricyclic antidepressants like doxepin (Sinequan). This class of medications also includes older antihistamines like chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and "antimuscarinic" drugs for bladder control, such as oxybutynin (Ditropan). However, the study could only point to an association between long-term or high-dose use of these drugs and a higher risk of dementia, it could not prove cause-and-effect. Also, the relationship "did not occur at the lowest dosage range but did occur at higher dosages used long-term," said one expert, Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York ... Read more

Related support groups: Prozac, Celexa, Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Benadryl, Dementia, Claritin, Loratadine, Diphenhydramine, Alzheimer's Disease, Oxybutynin, Doxepin, Chlorpheniramine, Ditropan, Oxytrol, Silenor, Benadryl Allergy, Sarafem, Simply Sleep, Gelnique

Leaks in Brain May Contribute to Dementia

Posted 21 Jan 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21, 2015 – Age-related blood vessel leaks in the brain may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, according to a new study. The findings suggest it may be possible to use brain scans to detect such leaks and repair them in order to prevent damage that can lead to dementia, the University of Southern California researchers said. The investigators analyzed contrast-enhanced brain images from 64 people of various ages and found that the brain's protective blood barrier becomes leaky with age. This leakage begins in the hippocampus, an important learning and memory center damaged by Alzheimer's disease. "This is a significant step in understanding how the vascular system affects the health of our brains," said lead investigator Dr. Berislav Zlokovic, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the university's Keck School of ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease

Petty 'Crimes' Sometimes Tied to Dementia

Posted 8 Jan 2015 by

THURSDAY, Jan. 8, 2015 – Some older adults with dementia unwittingly commit crimes like theft or trespassing, and for a small number, it can be a first sign of their mental decline, a new study finds. The behavior, researchers found, is most often seen in people with a subtype of frontotemporal dementia. Frontotemporal dementia accounts for about 10 to 15 percent of all dementia cases, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Meanwhile, older adults with Alzheimer's – the most common form of dementia – appear much less likely to show "criminal behavior," the researchers said. Still, almost 8 percent of Alzheimer's patients in the study had unintentionally committed some type of crime. Most often, it was a traffic violation, but there were some incidents of violence toward other people, researchers reported online Jan. 5 in JAMA Neurology. Regardless of the specific behavior, though, ... Read more

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Sleep Apnea May Raise Risk for Dementia

Posted 10 Dec 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10, 2014 – Older men who have breathing difficulties or spend less time in deep sleep may be at greater risk of brain changes that can precede dementia, a new study suggests. Experts said the findings don't prove that breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, lead to dementia. But they add to evidence that poor sleep may play a role in some older adults' mental decline. Past studies have suggested that people with certain sleep disturbances may face a greater dementia risk, the researchers note. But the reasons remain unclear. The new findings "help to explain how sleep disturbances may actually contribute to the development of cognitive impairment and dementia," said study leader Dr. Rebecca Gelber, of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System in Honolulu. Specifically, the researchers found that elderly men who had less oxygen circulating in their blood during sleep ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Sleep Apnea

Too Few Americans Undergo Dementia Screening

Posted 26 Nov 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26, 2014 – More than half of Americans with dementia have never undergone screening of their thinking and memory skills, a new study suggests. As reported online Nov. 26 in Neurology, "approximately 1.8 million Americans over the age of 70 with dementia have never had an evaluation of their cognitive [mental] abilities," study author Dr. Vikas Kotagal, of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, said in a journal news release. The finding is important because "early evaluation and identification of people with dementia may help them receive care earlier," he said. The new study included almost 300 people with dementia, aged 70 and older, who were taking part in the national Health and Retirement Study. According to the researchers, 55 percent had never had their thinking and memory abilities evaluated by a doctor. With an early diagnosis of dementia, ... Read more

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Could Too Much Medication for Irregular Heartbeat Raise Dementia Risk?

Posted 16 Nov 2014 by

SUNDAY, Nov. 16, 2014 – People with atrial fibrillation who are overtreated with anti-clotting drugs may be doubling their risk for dementia, a new study suggests. Atrial fibrillation causes the upper chambers of the heart to contract quickly and irregularly. These abnormal contractions allow blood to pool in the heart, forming clots that can cause a stroke if they break off and are carried into the brain. However, too much anti-clotting medication may raise the chances of tiny brain bleeds that, over time, might raise the risk of dementia, the researchers said. "In patients with atrial fibrillation, dementia risk is dependent on the efficacy and control of long-term use of anti-clotting drugs," said lead researcher Dr. Thomas Jared Bunch, director of electrophysiology at the Intermountain Heart Institute in Murray, Utah. Warfarin and Plavix, along with aspirin, are some of the most ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, Atrial Fibrillation, Dementia, Clopidogrel, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Jantoven

Brain Injuries in Older Age Could Boost Dementia Risk, Study Finds

Posted 27 Oct 2014 by

MONDAY, Oct. 27, 2014 – A mild concussion after age 65 might boost your risk of developing dementia, a new study suggests. Head injuries seem to pose special hazards for seniors compared to those in upper middle age, the researchers said. "This was surprising and suggests that the older brain may be especially vulnerable to traumatic brain injury, regardless of the traumatic brain injury severity," said study lead author Dr. Raquel Gardner, a clinical research fellow with San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "Or to spin it more positively, the younger brain may be more resilient to mild traumatic brain injury or may take longer to show symptoms of dementia," she added. Whatever the case, she believes the findings should spur efforts to prevent head injuries among older adults. "Most doctors and patients understand the importance of preventing falls in order to prevent bodily ... Read more

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Memory Slips in Senior Years May Signal Dementia Risk

Posted 24 Sep 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24, 2014 – Healthy elderly people who begin reporting memory lapses are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with dementia roughly a decade later, new research suggests. Evaluating more than 500 seniors, scientists found that those with memory complaints were almost three times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (memory and thinking problems) – a potential precursor to Alzheimer's disease – within nine years. Additionally, 80 percent had full-blown dementia within a dozen years. "I would say if you're an elderly person and you're noticing serious changes in your memory, you should take it seriously, but it's certainly not a cause for immediate alarm," said study author Richard Kryscio, associate director of University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. "If you're a middle-aged person, I would sort of ignore this," he added. "The average ... Read more

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Not Everyone With Alzheimer's-Linked Protein Develops Dementia: Study

Posted 15 Sep 2014 by

MONDAY, Sept. 15, 2014 – The human brain may have a way to compensate for the build-up of a destructive protein associated with Alzheimer's disease. That could help explain why some older people who have beta-amyloid deposits do not develop dementia, California researchers report. "This study provides evidence that there is plasticity or compensation ability in the aging brain that appears to be beneficial, even in the face of beta-amyloid accumulation," said the study's principal investigator, Dr. William Jagust. He's a professor with joint appointments at University of California, Berkeley's Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, the School of Public Health and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The study, published Sept. 14 in Nature Neuroscience, involved 22 healthy young adults and 49 older adults who showed no signs of mental decline. Using brain imaging technology, known as ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease

Advanced Dementia Patients Often Given Unhelpful Meds: Study

Posted 11 Sep 2014 by

THURSDAY, Sept. 11, 2014 – A new national analysis of U.S. nursing home prescription patterns says that more than half of people with advanced dementia are prescribed medications that are of questionable benefit. "The main concern centers on the under-appreciated burden and personal cost of using questionably beneficial meds," said study lead author Dr. Jennifer Tjia. She's with the department of quantitative health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. "Giving many daily medications to these patients, who often have difficulty eating and swallowing, is often uncomfortable [for the patient]," she noted. "Further, giving so many medications is not consistent with the goals of care for these patients, which is typically comfort," she added. And, "many of these medications have very real health risks, such as nausea, sedation, arrhythmias [irregular ... Read more

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Study: Rare Blood Type May Slightly Raise Dementia Risk

Posted 10 Sep 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 10, 2014 – Your blood type may play a small role in your risk for dementia, a new study finds. People with blood type AB, which includes about 4 percent of the population, appear to have an increased risk for memory problems as they age. Over about three years, individuals with blood type AB were almost twice as likely to show memory problems as those with type O blood, the most common blood group, the study found. But experts cautioned that those with AB blood shouldn't panic because other circumstances play a bigger part in their risk for mental impairment. "If you were to do the same study and look at smoking, lack of exercise, obesity and other lifestyle factors, the risk of dementia is much, much higher," said Dr. Terence Quinn, a clinical lecturer in stroke and geriatric medicine at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. "People who are worried about dementia, ... Read more

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Scientists Shed Light on Link Between Depression, Dementia

Posted 30 Jul 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014 – Older people with depression are more likely to develop dementia, but researchers have been unable to explain the exact nature of the relationship between the two. Specifically, they haven't been able to figure out the direction in which the relationship works – does depression help bring on dementia, or does dementia cause people to become depressed? A new study published online July 30 in the journal Neurology sheds more light on the mystery. Depression is a risk factor for dementia, researchers report, and people with more symptoms of depression tend to suffer a more rapid decline in thinking and memory skills. While the study found an association between the two, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Depression accounted for about 4.4 percent of the difference in mental decline that could not be attributed to dementia-related damage found in ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Dementia

Gardens a Center of Calm for People With Dementia

Posted 30 Jul 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014 – Spending time in a garden might help soothe the agitation that commonly strikes people with dementia, a new review suggests. Looking at 17 past studies, British researchers found evidence that watering plants, or sitting or strolling in a garden can help soothe some dementia patients' anxiety. The study authors cautioned that the effects of gardens on dementia patients are a tough subject to study – and the evidence of a benefit is limited. But experts said it's encouraging that there is ongoing research into the potential calming power of outdoor space. As dementia progresses, it's common for people to become anxious, restless and agitated, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Sometimes there is a medical reason – such as chronic pain – that the person with dementia just can't explain, said Dr. Mark Stecker, chairman of neurosciences at ... Read more

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Pacemakers Common for Those With Dementia and Irregular Heartbeats

Posted 29 Jul 2014 by

MONDAY, July 28, 2014 – People who have dementia and heart rhythm irregularities are more likely to get a pacemaker than people without dementia, new research has found. In fact, the study of more than 16,000 people found that those with dementia were up to 80 percent more likely to get a pacemaker than those without the memory-robbing condition. What isn't clear from this study is why folks with dementia are so much more likely to be treated with a pacemaker, said the study's lead researcher, Nicole Fowler, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Perhaps the more important question, though, is whether some patients with dementia – a progressive condition without a cure – should get a pacemaker at all, Fowler said. "We really need to take into account the whole picture and make sure patients understand the implications of the decisions they are making," ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Cardiac Arrhythmia

A Healthy Lifestyle May Deflect Dementia

Posted 15 Jul 2014 by

TUESDAY, July 15, 2014 – Seniors at risk for dementia may help safeguard their memory and ability to think by adopting a healthier lifestyle, a new study from Finland suggests. Older people who began eating right, exercising, playing "brain games" and socializing more often performed better on memory and problem-solving tests than people who maintained their habits, the researchers said. Earlier studies have observed that each of these lifestyle changes might help fight dementia. But this is the first randomized clinical trial to put those findings to the test, said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association. "This is the first study to definitively show that changing your lifestyle will reduce your risk for cognitive decline," Fargo said. The study involved 1,260 people aged 60 to 77 at risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Half of ... Read more

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Further Information

Related Condition Support Groups

Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Lewy Body Dementia, Arteriosclerotic Dementia, Central Nervous System Disorders

Related Drug Support Groups

Haldol, haloperidol, Haldol Decanoate, Hydergine, Gerimal, Hydergine LC, ergoloid mesylates