Patterns: Treating other conditions may stave off Alzheimer’s s

April 17, 2011 - 0:0

Older people suffering from mild memory and cognition problems may be less likely to progress to full-blown Alzheimer’s disease if they receive treatment for medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, a new study has found.

In 2004, researchers at Daping Hospital in Chongqing, China, began following 837 residents ages 55 and older who had mild cognitive impairment but not dementia. Of these, 414 had at least one medical condition that can damage blood vessels and impair blood flow to the brain.
After five years, 298 of the study participants had developed Alzheimer’s. Subjects who had had high blood pressure or other vascular problems at the beginning of the study were twice as likely to develop the dementia, compared with those without these risks, the researchers found. Half of those with vascular risks progressed to Alzheimer’s, compared with only 36 percent of those without.
Among those participants with vascular problems, those who received treatment were almost 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who did not, the study also reported. The researchers suggested that vascular risk factors may affect the metabolism of beta-amyloid plaque, which accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and seems to play a pivotal role in the disease.
About 7 percent of older people with mild cognitive impairment progress to Alzheimer’s each year.
The study was published Wednesday in the journal Neurology. As you may already know, we are now charging for unlimited access to our content. You can come back next month for another 20 free articles or choose unlimited access with a Digital Subscription and continue to enjoy the world’s best journalism, anytime, anywhere and on any device. Subscribing is quick and easy.
(Source: The New York Times)