Tag Archives: Alzheimers disease

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‘Dementia is not inevitable’ says David Cameron as he becomes President of Alzheimer’s Research UK

Former Prime Minister David Cameron vowed that ‘dementia is not inevitable’ as he became the new President of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Mr Cameron made dementia a focus of his time in office, and in 2012 launched Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge which aimed to find a treatment or cure by 2025.

“Tackling dementia was a major focus while I was Prime Minister, and although improvements in attention and research innovation have been rapid, it remains one of our greatest health challenges,” he said.

“So I’m delighted to take up the Presidency of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an ambitious charity driving medical research to fight this devastating condition.

“As well as being a world-leading research organisation, the charity is also fighting the misconceptions of dementia that persist in society. Dementia is not inevitable and research is our greatest weapon against it.

“I’m committed to helping Alzheimer’s Research UK transform the lives of those affected by this life-shattering condition.”

The former prime minister says he waned to ensure academics searching for treatments are “properly funded”

“We must win the battle of priorities,” he added. “Cancer research and stroke research deserve all their funding – but dementia shouldn’t be so far behind.

“Dementia steals people’s lives, turns their relationships upside down, destroys their hopes and dreams.”

Welcoming Mr Cameron’s appointment, Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that Mr Cameron had done ‘more than anyone’ to keep dementia high on the world’s agenda.

“As a world leader, Mr Cameron has done more than any other to put dementia on the global agenda, driving an ambition shared by all G7 nations to find a disease-modifying treatment by 2025,” she said.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is a hugely ambitious and growing charity, uniquely set-up to tackle our greatest medical challenge. We have a clear focus on pioneering research, working with leading scientists across the UK and the world.

“We are committed to bringing together the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in powerful collaborations that reach breakthroughs faster. David Cameron’s support of our work will help us continue our positive growth and further bolster our research efforts, through which we will end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

Source The Telegraph

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Gene Wilder might have spoken openly about his Alzheimer’s if dementia wasn’t one of the most stigmatised illnesses of our time

I remember my father being brought back home by the police because he’d been found wandering down the central reservation of a dual carriageway. Understandably, his diagnosis came with a lot of fear. But we need to face up to dementia’s realities and tackle the stigma surrounding it.

I was saddened to hear this week about the death of the late, great Gene Wilder as a result of complications of Alzheimer’s disease.It transpired that the man who brought so much laughter to so many people thanks to his comic genius had lived with dementia for a number of years – something which I know, through personal experience with my own father, can be frightening.

It was extremely moving to read from Wilder’s family that they, and he, had decided to keep his dementia a secret so that children who knew him as Willy Wonka would not equate the character with an adult disease. “This illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognise those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central gentle life-affirming core personality,” their statement read. “It took enough, but not that.”

Understandably, Gene’s family wanted him to be remembered for his legacy, for children to smile when they thought of him and not define him by an illness – not least dementia, a condition that children the world over still know relatively little about. And it was Gene’s decision not to release the details of his illness after he was diagnosed, apparently so that children wouldn’t be upset or frightened by the association of Willy Wonka with a frightening adult disease.

There can be no doubt that having dementia – a term which describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language – can have a profound and devastating impact on the person with dementia and the people who surround them.

Before my own Dad developed dementia – and long before I came to work at Alzheimer’s Society – I must confess I didn’t know much about it myself. Back then, it was often seen as the ultimate death sentence and simply wasn’t spoken about.

With my father, that diagnosis was steeped in fear, often a very physical fear about his personal safety.

He used to go wandering off to go to the off-licence. I remember him being brought back home by the police because he’d been found walking down the central reservation of a dual carriageway.

 Nowadays, the stigma surrouding the disease is slowly being broken down. I’ve dedicated myself to working with children and young people to try and create a “dementia-friendly” generation – perhaps in the future, that means that icons won’t feel as worried about revealing dementia to the adoring younger generations of fans.

We have a long way to go until society displays full acceptance, inclusion and support for people living with dementia and their carers. Research shows that dementia is still the most feared health condition of our time, with people continuing to put off seeking a dementia diagnosis or talking to others about the way in which living with dementia affects their lives – and the lives of those around them.

While the way in which an individual chooses to live with a dementia diagnosis is their choice, and Gene and his family were well within their rights to keep his diagnosis private, I want people to know that it’s OK to be open. Counter-intuitive as this may sound, not everything about a dementia diagnosis has to be doom and gloom.

The staff on our National Dementia Helpline can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations and can be contacted on 0300 222 1122. Read more about how Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative is changing the way people think, act and talk about dementia

Source The Independent

UK will be most dementia-friendly country, says Jeremy Hunt

The UK should be the most dementia-friendly country in the world by 2020, the health secretary has said. Jeremy Hunt said the government wanted to increase the numbers of diagnoses for people with dementia, raise awareness of the condition and encourage more research.

Under new plans, if a pilot scheme proves successful, everyone aged 40 and over will be given information about dementia and memory problems when they have their free NHS health check with their GP.

Ofsted-style ratings will strengthen current information on which regions are good at diagnosing dementia, enabling people to make more meaningful comparisons about the quality of dementia care in their area.

A proposed 10% of all people diagnosed with dementia will take part in research, while the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will include standards of dementia care in their inspections. Hunt also said seven-day services will improve for dementia patients in hospitals, with a consultant seeing patients in high-dependency care twice a day, every day, by 2020.

Hunt said: “A dementia diagnosis can bring fear and heartache, but I want Britain to be the best place in the world to live well with dementia. Last parliament we made massive strides on diagnosis rates and research – the global race is now on to find a cure for dementia and I want the UK to win it.

“This parliament I want us to make big progress on the quality of care and treatment. Hospitals can be frightening and confusing places for people with dementia, so our new plan will guarantee them safer seven-day hospital care, as well as tackling unacceptable variations in quality across England through transparent Ofsted-style ratings.”

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, resulting in the loss of brain cells. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s. Early symptoms include problems with memory and thinking. As the disease progresses, people can experience difficulty with walking, balance and swallowing.

Last year, Alzheimer’s Research UK warned of a “looming national health crisis” as the population ages – getting older is the biggest risk factor for dementia. The charity said one in three people born in 2015 will develop dementia. Calculations showed 27% of boys born in 2015 will develop the condition in their lifetime, alongside 37% of girls.

The government has doubled research funding to £60m a year and invested £150m to develop a national Dementia Research Institute to drive forward new treatments.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We applaud the government’s firm commitment to make the UK the most dementia friendly place in the world. Until recently, people with dementia were effectively cast out from society, but the tide is now turning. There are now nearly 1.5 million dementia friends helping to drive this change, and communities up and down the country are working to make streets, towns and cities more inclusive.

“But still many people with dementia face stigma and a health and care system that simply does not work for them – resulting in emergency hospital admissions, extended stays and desperate loneliness,” said Hughes.

“We look forward to leading the continued transformation of society and investment in research so that by 2020 people with dementia get the support they need every day of the year – whether that be at home, in residential care, hospital or in the wider community.”

David Mayhew, the prime minister’s dementia envoy and chairman of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “The UK is leading the way in the fight against dementia and this blueprint once again shows real leadership from the UK government in its efforts to tackle the condition.”

Source The Guardian

Researchers successfully repair nerve cell damage in Alzheimer’s dementia

In laboratory experiments on the basic mechanisms that cause Alzheimer’s dementia, an international research team led by Heidelberg neurobiologist Prof. Dr. Ulrike Müller and a team of French scientists have succeeded in largely “repairing” the nerve cell damage typical in this disease. 
The researchers took a closer look at a key protein in Alzheimer’s pathogenisis, APP, and one of its cleavage products APPsα. Prof. Müller of Heidelberg University’s Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology explains that viral gene shuttles were used to drive the delivery of APPsα into the brains of Alzheimer´s mouse models. 
The protein APPsα in turn elicited repair effects and clearly improved memory. The researchers hope to use these findings to explore new approaches in the development of gene therapy for Alzheimer’s.
 
Their results were published in the journal “Acta Neuropathologica”.
Alzheimer’s is the most frequent cause of dementia in the elderly. It particularly affects regions of the brain that are fundamental for memory and learning. 
 
The junctions through which the nerve cells communicate, the synapses, disappear long before the nerve cells die, damage that impairs both learning and memory. “While dead nerve cells are irretrievably lost, damaged synapses can be regenerated in the elderly,” Prof. Müller emphasises.
The brains of Alzheimer’s patients show plaque deposits, she explains. 
The deposits thwart the communication between the nerve cells and cause them to eventually die. 
The main component of the plaque is a short protein fragment known as the beta amyloid peptide. It is generated when the considerably larger amyloid precursor protein, or APP, is cleaved. “Until now, scientists believed that the overproduction of beta amyloid peptides was the main cause of Alzheimer’s. 
 
More recent investigations, however, have demonstrated that another APP cleavage product, the APPsα protein, also diminishes over the course of the disease,” Ulrike Müller continues. 
The protein cleaving enzymes, called secretases, play a key role in this process. The scissor-like secretases cut the APP cell surface protein at various positions. 
“These cleaving processes produce beta amyloid peptides that are toxic to the nerve cells, but also produce the protective APPsα cleavage product, which counteracts the toxic peptide,” says Prof. Müller. “Research over the last few years indicates that a misregulation of the secretase cleavage in Alzheimer’s results in inadequate production of protective APPsα.”
Unique, tiny protein cage developed to deliver chemotherapy chemicals directly to cancer cells
Earlier studies by Müller’s research group had already shown that APPsα has an essential function in the nervous system, particularly because it regulates the formation and function of synaptic junctions and spatial memory. 
These findings were used to investigate a new approach for a possible gene therapy for Alzheimer’s. The international research team used viral gene shuttles to introduce APPsα into the brains of mouse models with plaque deposits like those in Alzheimer’s. 
“After introducing the APPsα, we saw that the nerve cell damage could be repaired. The number of synaptic junctions increased, and spatial memory began to function again,” reports Ulrike Müller. “Our research results show the therapeutic effectiveness of APPsα in the animal model and open up new perspectives for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.”
Source News Medical

Alzheimer’s disease: Online brain training ‘improves daily lives of over-60s’

Playing online games that exercise reasoning and memory skills could have major benefits for older people, a wide-scale study has found.
Researchers at King’s College London discovered that mental exercises, or “brain training”, can improve people’s everyday lives, helping with tasks such as using public transport, shopping, cooking and managing personal finances.
Almost 7,000 people over the age of 50 were recruited from the public through the BBC, Alzheimer’s 
Society and the Medical Research Council to take part in the six-month experiment.
Some participants were encouraged to play a 10-minute brain-training package as often as they wished.
The package comprised three reasoning tasks, such as balancing weights on a see-saw, and three problem-solving tasks, such as putting numbered tiles in numerical order.
Volunteers completed cognitive tests, including assessments of grammatical reasoning and memory, before the study began and again after six weeks, three months and six months.
Those over 60 also carried out tests of daily living skills, such as using the telephone or doing shopping.
After six months, the over-60s who took part in the brain training were found to have significant improvements in carrying out daily tasks, while those over the age of 50 recorded better reasoning and verbal learning.
The improvements were most effective when people played brain-training games at least five times a week.
An earlier study by the same researchers suggested that such exercises offered no benefits for those younger than 50.
Last month, scientists in California and Berlin spoke out against the brain-training industry, saying there is “little evidence that playing brain games improves underlying broad cognitive abilities, or that it enables one to better navigate a complex realm of everyday life”.
But other research has shown some promise for brain training in improving memory, though these small-scale studies have been inconclusive.
Scientists have also shown that people who have complex occupations or stimulate their brains with activities such as crosswords, puzzles and learning new skills throughout life tend to have lower rates of dementia.
“The online package could be accessible to large numbers of people, which could also have considerable benefits for public health across the UK”
Dr Anne Corbett
The research team believe the new study could be important for preserving mental functions in older people and help reduce the risk of decline of cognitive functions in later life.
Dr Anne Corbett, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, said: “The impact of a brain training package such as this one could be extremely significant for older adults who are looking for a way to proactively maintain their cognitive health as they age.
“The online package could be accessible to large numbers of people, which could also have considerable benefits for public health across the UK.
“Our research adds to growing evidence that lifestyle interventions may provide a more realistic opportunity to maintain cognitive function, and potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline later in life, particularly in the absence of any drug treatments to prevent dementia.”
The research team believe the new study could be important for preserving mental functions in older people
Dr Doug Brown, from the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Online brain training is rapidly growing into a multimillion-pound industry and studies like this are vital to help us understand what these games can and cannot do.
“While this study wasn’t long enough to test whether the brain-training package can prevent cognitive decline or dementia, we’re excited to see that it can have a positive impact on how well older people perform essential everyday tasks.”
Source The Telegraph

Cheap asthma drug could help fight dementia

Tests show just a six-week course of commonly available tablets leads to a marked improvement in mental function.

Montelukast appears to work by reducing inflammation in a part of the brain associated with learning and memory.

It is the latest drug to be “repurposed” – used to treat a different condition than it was originally intended for.

Experts said the exciting discovery gives hope to hundreds of thousands of people who will be struck down with dementia.

They believe the pill could hold the key to providing the first “safe and durable” treatment for old age.

The breakthrough came after researchers at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria, found it boosted the memories of older rats.

“Counteracting some, or ideally all, of such age-related changes might rejuvenate the brain and lead to preservation or even improvement of cognitive function in the elderly,” the researchers claimed in a landmark study published in the respected journal Nature.

The gradual loss of memory and cognitive skills is a key sign of ageing.

Growing old is also associated with a slowdown in the growth of new brain cells and an chronic increase in toxic inflammation.

Neurologist Ludwig Aigner tested montelukast because it blocks inflammation in asthma and could do the same in the brain.

Researchers gave 10mg daily doses to four-month-old and 20-month-old rats, the older rodents being the equivalent in age to 65 to 70-year-old humans.

The older animals did not have a rodent form of dementia, but showed the same decline in brain agility that humans experience as they age.

Groups of rats were trained to find a submerged platform in a water pool.

After five days, older rodents were still unclear about its location but those given the drug could find it almost as well as younger animals.

After two days the rats were again lowered into the water pool and went in search of the platform.

Again, older rodents were bad at remembering where it was, but those given the drug appeared to have better memories, and found the platform nearly as quickly as younger animals.

Further experiments examined how animals behaved when familiar objects were moved.

Young rodents spent more time checking out where they had gone, which researchers believe is because they have better memories.

When older rodents were given montelukast they behaved in an identical way.

Studies of their brains revealed older animals given the drug had more freshly-grown neutrons than those given a dummy pill.

Crucially, they showed less obvious inflammation.

Professor Christian Hölscher, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher at Lancaster University, said: “These new research results show very promising effects. As more and more inflammation builds up during ageing, it is a good approach to test currently available drugs that reduce inflammation such as in asthma to see if they can also be helpful in protecting against the long term effects of chronic inflammation.

“Since this drug is already on the market, we know exactly how people respond to it and what the potential side effects are.

“Also, it is much easier to test this drug in clinical trials as it is already licensed for use in people.”

One in three people born this year are expected to develop the harrowing condition.

The scale of “dementia dread” is such that eight in ten over 55s admit to being terrified of the condition with 76 per cent of 18-24 year olds saying the same.

It now affects 850,000 people in the UK and costs £26bn a year to treat.

Experts estimate more than 2m will be struck down by 2050.

Dementia is caused by diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, resulting in the loss of brain cells, which impair mental function.

Research shows a third of cases could be prevented by adopting healthier lifestyles like not smoking, taking more exercise and eating a diet rich in vitamins and fish.

Telltale symptoms include memory loss, confused thinking, speech and difficulty problem-solving. It is progressive, meaning it worsens over time.

Dr Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We now know that inflammation could play a harmful role in many brain diseases, including those that cause dementia.

“Researchers are investigating a wide range of anti-inflammatory approaches in the search for new treatments for Alzheimer’s and this study in rats uses an existing anti-asthma drug to dampen brain inflammation.”

Doug Brown, of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We know that inflammation in the brain may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and so finding ways to treat this is a potential avenue for researchers.

“The approach of repurposing existing drugs is a promising one as it could mean new treatments for dementia become available in half of the time of a standard drug – bringing hope to hundreds of thousands.”

Source The Express

Old drug may help keep Alzheimer’s patients out of nursing homes

A cheap off-patent drug that relieves some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may also help keep people at an advanced stage of the illness out of nursing homes, at least for a while.
Research published on Tuesday showed that withdrawing the commonly used drug donepezil in moderate-to-severe patients doubled their risk of moving into nursing care within a year, although it made no difference during the following three years.
Donepezil, originally sold by Eisai and Pfizer as Aricept and now available generically for just over 20 pounds ($30) a year, works by raising the levels of chemicals within the brain that allow nerve cells to communicate.
Like other existing Alzheimer’s treatments, it cannot slow the disease process itself.
It is currently only approved for mild-to-moderate disease, so patients often stop taking it when they deteriorate. But Robert Howard of University College London, who led a publicly funded study of the drug, said it was time to reconsider this.
“People will look at our trial and it will make them think that these drugs have more to offer in severe Alzheimer’s disease than perhaps was previously thought,” he told reporters.
The new study is important, he believes, because it shows how a drug could change lives by keeping sufferers at home, thereby saving on residential dementia care that costs more than 30,000 pounds a year.
“We are all impatient for the advent of true disease-modifying drugs that can slow or halt the Alzheimer’s process, but donepezil is available right now and at modest cost,” Howard said.
The new findings, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, are a follow-up of trial data after donepezil modestly improved cognitive scores in advanced Alzheimer’s patients in 2012. Because it was a secondary analysis, other experts said the results should be viewed as exploratory.
Drug companies including Eli Lilly, Biogen and Roche are working to develop true disease-modifying drugs for the memory-robbing disease, although progress is proving slow.
Source Reuters

First trial to stop Alzheimer’s before symptoms emerge

Most research into dementia is about finding treatments for people who are already affected by symptoms.

But a trial is under way in London which aims to prevent Alzheimer’s in people at high risk, before they show any physical signs of the disease.

These people have at least a 50-50 chance of carrying a rare genetic mutation which means they will develop the disease early in life – typically in their 30s or 40s.

Sophie Leggett, from Suffolk, saw her aunt and her mother develop Alzheimer’s in their early 40s.

Now 39, she has chosen not to know whether she too has the rare genetic mutation that obliterated their lives and could soon take over hers.

She recalls seeing her mother decline, just as she was coping with her own baby baby girl, was hard to bear.

“I would look at her lying in a bed unable to communicate, unable to do anything at all for herself, and grieve for her – for the mum that I’d lost – but also for the fact that I felt like I was looking at my future,” she says.

‘Protect our children’

She is worried if she has the mutation, it could be passed on to her daughter, who is now in her teens.

“I can cope with the possibility that it could happen to me. And I have many a time made a deal with God saying I’ll take it, give it to me, but don’t let my daughter have it. I think we all want to protect our children. And I don’t want her to feel the fear that I feel now for myself.”

That is why she is taking part in a pioneering study which she feels could “change the future”.

The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) is an international collaboration working with 200 people who – because of their genes – are at high risk of developing early onset Alzheimer’s.

Dr Cath Mummery from University College Hospital in London is leading the UK branch of the study. She says this trial the first of its kind.

“They know that they may get Alzheimer’s disease because they may have a mutation that causes it, but they don’t have symptoms. So we’re trying to prevent the onset of the disease which is very different.”

The researchers are looking out for subtle signs of Alzheimer’s that can start to appear years before physical symptoms emerge.

They are monitoring changes in the brain and spinal fluid and checking cognitive performance.

And they are testing two immunotherapy drugs to see if they can stop the disease.

‘Really exciting’

Dr Mummery says if they are successful the benefits could extend well beyond this rare genetic group.

“Genetic Alzheimer’s disease is very similar in the way that it affects people – apart from being younger – to sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, the one you see in the general population,” she explains.

“The really exciting bit after that is potentially we can extrapolate to that population and start to look at using this treatment for preventative measures for them.”

Dr Mummery says she has found it humbling to work in the trial with people who have seen so much suffering in their families, and are ready to go through such extensive testing to help the research.

Sophie says that for a long time she struggled to deal with the spectre of Alzheimer’s. Now though, she can discuss it freely. She has given advice to a new production at the Royal Court Theatre in London about familial Alzheimer’s, called “Plaques and Tangles”.

The playwright, Nicola Wilson, says talking to Sophie was a moving experience.

“It brought me back to a quote I’ve got at the beginning of the play text by the physician William Osler, which is ask not what disease the person has, but rather what person the disease has.”

In her mind’s eye Sophie has no version of herself growing old. She assumes she will get Alzheimer’s. She does not believe the trial will produce a treatment in time for her, but she wants to help future generations.

The Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dr Simon Ridley, said the DIAN-TU study offered a unique opportunity to test new experimental drugs at the point when they were likely to have the biggest impact.

“The insight gained from the study has the potential to transform approaches to clinical trials and treatment development not only for families with rare genetic forms of Alzheimer’s, but for everyone affected by the disease.”

Source BBC News

Traces of fungus found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, study finds

Traces of fungus have been discovered in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, a study published on Thursday 15 October 2015 in Nature’s journal of Scientific Reports has found.
Researchers compared the brains of people with and without Alzheimer’s disease. They found cells and other material from ‘several fungal species’ in the brain tissue and blood vessels of all 11 deceased Alzheimer’s patients analysed, but not in ten Alzheimer’s-free controls. 
There was no conclusive evidence to establish whether the fungus had caused Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said: 
‘Traces of fungus in the brains of these few people with Alzheimer’s is not enough to conclude that it plays a role in the development of the disease. 
Although there has been research in the past to explore whether infectious diseases can raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the results have so far been inconclusive. 
We do know that Alzheimer’s disease weakens the internal barrier that protects the brain and this may make it more open to infections.
‘There is still much research to be done in order to truly understand the causes of dementia. As it is a progressive, long-term condition, it can take many years before symptoms appear and so it is hard to determine the initial cause based on samples taken after death.’
Source Alzheimers Society

Middle-aged depression connected to Alzheimer’s

A study of almost 1,500 people has discovered a link between feelings of hopelessness in mid-life and Alzheimer’s disease in later life.
Alzheimer Scotland estimates that there are around 90,000 people living with dementia north of the Border, but that figure is expected to double within the next 20 years.
Last night, experts said the new research emphasised the importance of people looking after their emotional wellbeing throughout their lives.
The study assessed a sample of 1,449 Finnish people when they were in mid-life – between 39 and 64 years old – and then re-examined them when they were aged between 65 and 80.
It measured participants’ feelings of hopelessness by asking a series of questions and assessed their cognitive health at the follow-up.
Experts took the health and lifestyle choices of the participants into account and also noted the presence of the gene ApoE4 allele, which is present in around 20 per cent of the population and can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The study found that those who suffered cognitive impairment at follow-up had experienced higher levels of hopelessness in midlife.
The report into the findings, published this week, reads: “Feelings of hopelessness already in midlife may have long-term implications for cognitive health with a pronounced risk increase for Alzheimer’s disease in persons who in addition carry the ApoE4 allele.
“While most research on emotion and cognitive health has focused on global depression or composite depressive feelings, this study suggests a more differentiated approach to be feasible.
Mental health should be a much greater priority for all of us, irrespective of our age
Greg McCracken, Age Scotland’s early dementia team leader
“The dimension of hopelessness seems like a promising candidate that may have relevance beyond that of global depression – also as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”
Previous studies have linked depression and dementia but failed to find whether one caused the other or vice versa.
However, the latest research found that a significant number of participants suffered depressive thoughts up to 20 years before they developed dementia symptoms.
Last night, Age Scotland’s early stage dementia team leader Greg McCracken said: “These findings would appear to support the importance of looking after your emotional health and wellbeing throughout life. It is well known that people who experience poor mental health often fail to prioritise things like physical activity or a healthy diet, which are also important factors associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia.
“That’s why Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia project, funded by the Life Changes Trust, is raising awareness of how looking after oneself – including our mental health – should be a much greater priority for all of us, irrespective of our age.”
The research was carried out by the University of Eastern Finland, Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute – both in Sweden.
Source The Express