Tag Archives: dementia risk

Two Alzheimer’s drugs tested head-to-head in first-ever virtual clinical trial

An estimated 6.2 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. The national Alzheimer’s Association predicts that number to grow to 13.8 million by 2060, barring the development of medical breakthroughs that would prevent, slow or cure the debilitating disease.

Scientists may be one step closer to such a breakthrough thanks to a first-of-its-kind computer model that successfully simulated a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of multiple treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

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“We’re calling this a virtual clinical trial, because we used real, de-identified patient data to simulate health outcomes,” said Wenrui Hao, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State, who is lead author and principal investigator on the study published in the September issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology. “What we found aligns almost exactly with findings in prior clinical trials, but because we were using a virtual simulation, we had the added benefit of directly comparing the efficacy of different drugs over longer trial periods.”

Using clinical and biomarker data, the researchers built a computational causal model to run virtual trials on the FDA-approved treatment aducanumab, as well as another promising therapy under evaluation, donanemab. The two drugs are some of the first treatments designed to work directly on what may cause the disease, instead of just treating the symptoms.

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The different types of dementia – NIH

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November 5, 2022 · 11:04 pm

Decreased proteins, not amyloid plaques, tied to Alzheimer’s disease – Study

New research from the University of Cincinnati bolsters a hypothesis that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a decline in levels of a specific protein, contrary to a prevailing theory that has been recently called into question.

UC researchers led by Alberto Espay, MD, and Andrea Sturchio, MD, in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, published the research on Oct. 4 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Questioning the dominant hypothesis

The research is focused on a protein called amyloid-beta. The protein normally carries out its functions in the brain in a form that is soluble, meaning dissolvable in water, but it sometimes hardens into clumps, known as amyloid plaques.

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How walking speed and memory might predict dementia

Dementia is predominantly associated with advancing age. So, as the average age of humans on planet Earth steadily rises, the burden of dementia is set to increase.

Currently, there is no cure; however, starting treatment early is associated with better outcomes. Because of this, researchers are focused on finding ways to predict who is most likely to develop dementia.

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Also, certain factors increase the risk of dementia, including hypertension and sedentary behavior. Understanding which groups tend to develop dementia helps scientists and doctors identify and manage further risk factors.

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These Heart Risk Factors Are a Recipe for Dementia

The faster you pile up heart disease risk factors, the greater your odds of developing dementia, a new study suggests.

Previous research has linked heart health threats such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity with mental decline and dementia.

Amassing those risk factors at a faster pace boosts your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, according to findings published online April 20 in the journal Neurology.

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Extended Napping in Seniors May Signal Dementia

Daytime napping among older people is a normal part of aging – but it may also foreshadow Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. And once dementia or its usual precursor, mild cognitive impairment, are diagnosed, the frequency and/or duration of napping accelerates rapidly, according to a new study.

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The study, led by UC San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School together with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, its teaching affiliate, departs from the theory that daytime napping in older people serves merely to compensate for poor nighttime sleep. Instead, it points to work by other UCSF researchers suggesting that dementia may affect the wake-promoting neurons in key areas of the brain, the researchers state in their paper publishing March 17 in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“We found the association between excessive daytime napping and dementia remained after adjusting for nighttime quantity and quality of sleep,” said co-senior author Yue Leng, MD, PhD, of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

“This suggested that the role of daytime napping is important itself and is independent of nighttime sleep,” said Leng, who partnered with Kun Hu, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, in senior-authoring the paper.

Watch-Like Devices, Annual Evaluations Used to Measure Naps, Cognition

In the study, the researchers tracked data from 1,401 seniors, who had been followed for up to 14 years by the Rush Memory and Aging Project at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. The participants, whose average age was 81 and of whom approximately three-quarters were female, wore a watch-like device that tracked mobility. Each prolonged period of non-activity from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. was interpreted as a nap.

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Early menopause may raise risk of dementia later in life

Women who enter menopause very early, before age 40, were found to be more likely to develop dementia of any type later in life compared to women who begin menopause at the average menopause-onset age of 50 to 51 years, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2022. The meeting was held in-person in Chicago and virtually Tuesday, March 1 – Friday, March 4, 2022, and offers the latest in population-based science related to the promotion of cardiovascular health and the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

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“Our study found that women who enter menopause very early were at greater risk of developing dementia later in life,” said Wenting Hao, M.D., a Ph.D. candidate at Shandong University in Jinan, China. “Being aware of this increased risk can help women practice strategies to prevent dementia and to work with their physicians to closely monitor their cognitive status as they age.”

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Self-administered cognition test predicts early signs of dementia sooner

Many people experience forgetfulness as they age, but it’s often difficult to tell if these memory issues are a normal part of aging or a sign of something more serious. A new study finds that a simple, self-administered test developed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, College of Medicine and College of Public Health can identify the early, subtle signs of dementia sooner than the most commonly used office-based standard cognitive test.   

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This earlier detection by the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE test) is critical to effective treatment, especially as new therapeutics for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are being developed and approved.   “New disease modifying therapies are available and others are currently being evaluated in clinical trials, and we know that the earlier cognitive impairment is detected, the more treatment choices a patient has and the better the treatments work,” said Dr. Douglas Scharre, director of the Division of Cognitive and Memory Disorders in the Department of Neurology at Ohio State and lead author of the study published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.

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Dementia linked to inflammatory foods

Diets with higher inflammatory potential were tied to an increased risk of incident dementia, a prospective observational study showed.

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Each unit increase in dietary inflammatory index scores was associated with a 21% higher risk of dementia over 3 years (HR 1.21, 95% CI 1.03-1.42, P=0.023), reported Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD, PhD, of Columbia University in New York City and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School in Greece, and co-authors.

Diets with higher inflammatory potential were tied to an increased risk of incident dementia, a prospective observational study showed.

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The link between hearing loss and dementia – AHA

Hearing loss is a natural part of aging nobody likes to admit is happening. But happen it does – and ignoring it comes with a cost. It could put you at risk for another feared consequence of aging: dementia.

“The greater your hearing loss, the more likely you are to develop dementia,” said Dr. Alexander Chern, an ear, nose and throat doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

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By age 70, research shows 2 in 3 U.S. adults have lost some hearing. Yet the vast majority – more than 80% – fail to seek treatment. Age-related hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor for dementia, according to a 2020 report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention and care. Hearing loss in midlife accounts for an estimated 8.2% of all dementia cases.

But why that is remains unclear.

Just as there are many causes for dementia, there also are many potential mechanisms linking hearing loss to a decline in brain health, experts say. And as with dementia, it’s possible more than one is operating at the same time, said Timothy Griffiths, a professor of cognitive neurology at Newcastle University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

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Earlier onset of high blood pressure may increase dementia risk – AHA

  • People with high blood pressure diagnosed before age 55 had smaller brains compared to people who had normal blood pressure, and people who developed high blood pressure in early adulthood had the greatest reduction in brain size, according to a new study analyzing data from the UK Biobank.
  • People diagnosed with high blood pressure between ages 35 and 44 were 61% more likely to develop dementia during the study’s follow-up period 8-10 years later, compared to individuals who had normal blood pressure during the same years.
  • The results suggest that initiating efforts to prevent and control blood pressure in early adulthood may help prevent dementia.

Individuals who are diagnosed with high blood pressure at ages 35-44 had smaller brain size and were more likely to develop dementia compared to people who had normal blood pressure, according to new research published today in Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal.

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The results raise the possibility that taking steps in young adulthood to control or delay the onset of high blood pressure may reduce the risk of dementia.

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Could This Test Determine Dementia Risk?

People whose scores on a dementia risk test indicated a less brain-healthy lifestyle,  including smoking, high blood pressure and a poor diet, may also have the following: lower scores on thinking skills tests, more changes on brain scans and a higher risk of cognitive impairment. That’s according to a new study published in the August 25, 2021, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also found that in men, the test scores were associated with poor memory function and markers of brain shrinkage.

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“Dementia risk scores might be useful to help identify people at higher risk of dementia earlier, so that potential lifestyle factors can be addressed earlier and monitored more closely,” said study author Sebastian Köhler, PhD, of Maastricht University, the Netherlands. “Our study found that a substantial proportion of brain changes might be attributable to risk factors that can be modified.”

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