Bloomberg News reports, “People who are genetically susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s disease may be able to reduce their risk with exercise,” according to a study published in the Archives of Neurology. Continue reading
Studies show, and my experience with my patients concurs, that people, as they age, fear memory loss, in general, and Alzheimer’s, in particular, even more than cancer. To date, there’s been little that’s been shown to be effective to prevent age-related memory decline … that is until now. To prevent the loss, you’ll need to get off your butt and begin exercising. Here are the details: Continue reading
For the study, researchers from Kaiser Permanente “evaluated the records of 21,123 men and women in midlife and continued following them, on average, for 23 years.” They found that, “compared with non-smokers, those who had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day increased their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by more than 157% and had a 172% higher risk of developing vascular dementia — the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that smokers who did not smoke so heavily still faced an increased risk for dementia. For example, even smokers who smoked just half a pack of cigarettes daily still had a 37% increased risk for Alzheimer’s.
Bloomberg News points out the public health implications of the study, noting that “about 46 million Americans ages 18 or older are cigarette smokers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The study’s lead author explained that “smoking causes higher levels of inflammation in the body and affects how blood clots.”
In addition, “smokers are … more likely to have strokes, high blood pressure, and cerebrovascular disease — a malady of the blood vessels, particularly the arteries that supply the brain — which are all risk factors for dementia, she said.”
According to the CNN’s “The Chart” blog, people “who smoked between one and two packs had a 44 percent heightened risk, compared to non-smokers.”
However, “this could be an underestimation, because some smokers who would have developed dementia died before diagnosis, said Kenneth Hepburn, associate dean for research at the Emory University School of Nursing, who was not involved in the study.”
What’s more, “the reported risk of dementia among heavy smokers is also likely an underestimation because many of those people will die before they’re old enough to develop dementia, he said.”
“Former smokers and people who smoked less than half a pack a day did not appear to be at increased risk of Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia,” HealthDay reported.
Still, “the associations between smoking and dementia did not change, even after adjusting for race or gender, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart attack, stroke or weight,” the study authors added.
All of this is just another reason for all of you who smoke to talk to your personal physician ASAP about stopping ASAP.
In my best-selling book, co-written with Donal O’Mathuna, PhD, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I wrote a chapter on Gingko biloba and said this:
While ginkgo looks promising as a means of delaying the memory loss related to a variety of diseases, some studies have found no benefit. Studies have found memory benefits only for about six months. Ginkgo may prove helpful for retarding age-related memory loss, dementia, and peripheral arterial disease. However, studies have not examined the benefits or safety of taking ginkgo long-term.
Now we may have the answer. I was first informed of it by watching the CBS Evening News where it was reported, “Americans spend a quarter billion dollars a year on” gingko biloba supplements, “hoping to improve their memory and slow cognitive decline.”
NBC Nightly News that same evening reported that “now, a major study shows” that gingko biloba, “one of the most popular supplements, flat out does not work.”
USA Today reported that, according to a study published in the Dec. 23-30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, “the popular botanical … does not improve memory, nor does it prevent cognitive decline in older people.”
After analyzing data “from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study” on “more than 3,000 people between ages 72 and 96 for seven years,” researchers from the University of Virginia Medical School “found that a twice-daily dose of 120 milligrams of ginkgo biloba extract was not effective in reducing the incidence of Alzheimer’s dementia or dementia overall.”
According to the Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “a branch of the National Institutes of Health, has been researching ginkgo for 10 years to see whether the type of clinical trials required for FDA-regulated pharmaceuticals would reveal any benefit. The new findings are in line with several other studies, including a Cochrane review published this year that found ‘no convincing evidence’ that the herb preserves mental function in any way.”
The investigators “found no evidence that ginkgo delayed or prevented normal declines in memory, language, attention, visuospatial abilities, or executive functions, such as anticipating outcomes and adapting to changing situations and thinking abstractly,” HealthDay reported. Moreover, “these results remained the same regardless of sex, age, race or education,” the investigators found. However, the supplement was found to be safe, “and no serious side effects were noted,” study author Steven T. DeKosky, MD, said.
Likely this study will lead us to prescribe even more caution about this herb — one for which we once had significant hope.
It may soon be easier to predict which patients 65 and older will develop Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, researchers said – at least compared with current methods of prediction.
More Information: Continue reading
MedPage is reporting that the give and take of marriage may be enough to stave off Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairment – based upon a prospective population-based study which found that people living alone from midlife on were almost three times as likely to develop some level of cognitive impairment as those who were living with a spouse.
My Take? Continue reading
HealthDay News is reporting a stunning study from the Boston University School of Medicine finding that the use of a particular class of blood pressure drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) is associated with lower incidence and slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
My Take? Continue reading