Negative Thinking and Dementia (Link?)

negative thinking and dementia

We’ve dealt many times with negative thinking and dementia. We also found several studies revealing the possible link between the two.

Thus conducted this article that will help you and your loved ones with the impact of negative thinking.

Does Negative Thinking Influence Dementia?

Researchers from University College London conducted the research suggesting that repetitive negative thinking also known as perseverative cognition is linked to a higher number of harmful protein deposits in the brain which is linked to cognitive decline.

Subsequently, this INCREASES the risk of developing dementia.

Natalie L. Marchant the lead investigator of the study said that they were prompted to carry out the research based on the fact that anxiety and depression are known as dementia risk factors in mid- and old-age.

The research revealed that certain thinking patterns implicated in anxiety and depression could be the reason individuals experiencing disorders are MORE LIKELY to get dementia.

negative thinking anxiety depression can promote dementia development

She further explained that chronic perseverative cognition patterns over long periods of time could increase the risk of dementia.

However, there was no evidence showing that SHORT-TERM setbacks increase an individual’s risk of developing dementia.

More details of the novel study below.

Participants and Duration of the Research

The researchers observed hundreds of participants who were above 55 years over a four year period.

All the participants were in good cognitive and physical health and had a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s disease.

The authors of the study looked at two cohorts of participants.

The first came from the PREVENT- AD (Pre-symptomatic Evaluation of Experimental or Novel Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease) research project.

Other participants were drawn from IMAP+ (Multi-Modal Neuroimaging in Alzheimer’s disease) study.

Both studies involved 360 participants.

Research nurses conducted DETAILED medical examinations before enrolling the subjects to ensure they were eligible for the study.

During this time, participants were asked to respond to questions that indicated how they normally felt about various negative experiences.

The queries were primarily centered on patterns that are usually observed in repetitive negative thinking.

These include worrying about the future or thoughts of past events.

The research team also assessed the cognitive function of the subjects including language, attention, and spatial cognition.

In the quest to find out if there is a relationship between negative thinking and dementia, 113 participants had PET scans.

These were done to measure the amount of amyloid and tau deposits in the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease is linked to an excessive accumulation of these two proteins in the brain.

Results of the Study

Researchers found that the participants who demonstrated HIGHER LEVELS of repeated negative thinking patterns had more memory and cognitive decline.

Additionally, the group of participants also had more tau and amyloid deposits when compared to the ones who did not have repetitive negative thinking patterns.

Marchant concluded that repetitive negative thinking could be one of the new risk factors for dementia.

It could contribute to the development of the illness in a unique manner.

Researchers also noted some limitations of the study.

While there may be an association between repetitive negative thinking and dementia, the casual relationship between the two is still not clear.

Authors believe that perseverative cognition contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s by ELEVATING an individual’s stress levels.

Furthermore, the experts could not ignore the fact that early signs of Alzheimer’s disease could also lead to repetitive negative thinking.

Tips for Avoiding Repetitive Negative Thinking

tips for avoiding repetitive negative thinking
Seeing that there could be a link between negative thinking and dementia, it is possible that the risk of developing the illness can be reduced by being more positive.

Researchers are currently taking up projects to see whether interventions such as meditation, mindfulness training, and targeted talk therapy can help REDUCE repeated negative thoughts.

Dr. Gael Chetelat co-author of the study stated that people’s thoughts have a biological impact on physical health.

It can either be negative or positive.

He believed that mental training practice CAN PROMOTE positive thinking.

The doctor advised individuals to take care of their mental health.

He says that this should be a major public health priority.

It is important for people’s well-being and health in the short term and can reduce the risk of dementia.

Responding to this, Dr. Jacob Hall a neurologist at Stanford Health Care said that experts must use scales to determine what is considered normal or abnormal when it comes to negative thoughts.

Positive thoughts increase the quality of life

positive thoughts can reduce dementia development
This is because some negative thoughts are considered to be a normal part of life.

Hall said that there it is still not clear whether perseverative cognition causes, accelerates, or is just associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

He, however, noted that a positive mindset is associated with tons of benefits.

He went further to state that healthier thinking patterns can lead to a higher quality of life reducing the risk of multiple health problems including dementia.

There is no doubt that a positive outlook is great for the mind, body, and brain.

Previous research supports the hypotheses of the study indicating persons who are more positive usually have a better shot at avoiding death from cardiovascular risks than pessimistic people.

A study conducted in 2019 revealed that more positive individuals enjoyed GREATER protection from stroke, heart attacks, and other causes of death.

Moving Forward

Based on the results of the study, researchers hope for more studies on the link between negative thinking and dementia.

We can use the findings to develop effective strategies to IMPROVE the quality of life.

These can lower the risk of people developing dementia by curbing repetitive negative thoughts.

Dementia and Weight Loss in Patients

dementia and weight loss

Due to our close experience with dementia and weight loss, we found it essential to conduct this extensive article.

People who have dementia may, at one point in the illness, may deal with weight loss at the same time.

This especially happens in the later stages of the disease.

This can be very heartbreaking, due to the fact that food is a very crucial part of a person’s existence and health.

Below we talk about weight loss in people who have dementia.

We mention causes, negative effects, and how to manage this distressing condition.

Causes of Weight Loss

Several factors can contribute to weight loss in people who have dementia, such as:

Not Eating Enough

not eating enough
A person with dementia may lose weight because they are not getting enough food.

This may be because their preference of food has changed, or caregivers are serving the WRONG consistency, which makes it difficult to swallow.

Others fail to consume enough food because they lose their ability to recognize food.

Some individuals with dementia may be hungry but forget how to put the food in their mouths.

Medical Conditions

medical conditions
Some medical conditions may be behind weight loss in people with dementia.

These can include constipation, depression, dehydration, thyroid disease, pain, chronic infections, and end-organ diseases, amongst others.

Oral Problems

oral problems
Many people struggling with dementia and weight loss often have oral issues that affect their ABILITY to communicate and eat.

A person might have challenges while eating because they have mouth ulcers, poorly fitting dentures, or bad teeth.

Poor oral health leads to pain, which can make it DIFFICULT for a person to chew and swallow food.

Certain medicines

certain medicines
Weight loss can also be a side-effect of the many medications that persons with dementia take.

These TYPES OF DRUGS may include cardiac medications, endocrine drugs, psychotics, neurologics, joint, bone, and pain medicines.

Psychological Issues

psychological issues
Persons with dementia who are psychiatrically disturbed may become delusional about food. They can decline to eat for fear of food poisoning.

Others may refuse to enter the dining area because of distractions like hearing voices in their heads.

Some may start eating well but leave before completing the meal.

Burning more Calories

burning more calories
A person with dementia may end up losing more weight because they burn calories fast. This is specifically those people who are always in motion pacing and wandering.

Negative Effects of Losing Weight

negative effects of losing weight
The immune system of persons dealing with dementia and weight loss may become weak, which makes it more challenging for the body to fight off other illnesses and infections.

The risk of falling also increases, which makes it challenging for an individual to remain independent.

Managing Weight Loss in Persons Who Have Dementia

Dementia and weight loss management
To avoid a majority of the complications that develop with dementia and weight loss, it is advisable to offer ill persons all the support they need when it comes to HEALTHY eating and drinking.

If the person still shows interest during meal times, there are a few steps you can take to ensure they eat well, such as:

Support for healthy eating

1. Choosing a plate that has a different color from the food so that the person with dementia can see it more clearly.

It also helps to offer flavourful food.

2. Feeding them or putting a drink in their hand if they have difficulties seeing it.

3. Giving the individual enough time to eat and drink.

4. Encouraging the person to participate in exercise during the day can help to increase appetite.

You can opt for activities like taking short walks, swimming, dancing and playing games that the person with dementia finds pleasurable.
increase appetite

5. Try and give them foods that they enjoy, especially if you can provide a healthier option so that the suffering person can always look forward to mealtimes.

For instance, if a person prefers sweet food, you can always serve them a lot of fruit and a little forward so that at the end of the day, they still consume a balanced diet that is good for their health.

Note that smells and tastes from their favorite foods can stimulate the appetite.

Additionally, it is essential to serve tender food that is cut into small bites so that the person with dementia does not have a tough time chewing and swallowing the food.

6. Avoid distractions and overstimulation in the dining areas.

Turning off the TV or radio and making sure people do not make too much noise during meal times can help create the ideal eating environment.

7. Another management strategy when dealing with dementia and weight loss is to ensure that the affected persons eat with dentures, glasses, and hearing aids intact with working battering.

When a person cannot sit still for over fifteen minutes, it is best to give them snacks between meals because hunger is one of the leading causes of agitation in persons with dementia.

8. At times, in dire cases, family members may consider going the artificial feeding route.

This is where experts feed the ill person using tubes that are directly inserted into the stomach.
experts feed the sick person using tubes

If you feel like you cannot solve the problem at home, consult a professional speech pathologist or a dietician who will advise on the best way forward.

Treatment primarily focuses on FIBER, FLUID, and CALORIES for the affected persons.

This is because ill persons require sufficient fiber, proper hydration, and adequate food to maintain the ideal caloric function, nutrition, and weight.

You should also schedule a visit to the dentist if eating problems are stemming from oral issues.

Professionals may also prescribe psychotropic medications to treat problems like depression, hallucinations, and delusions.

Closing Thoughts

It is QUITE COMMON for seniors to experience dementia and weight loss concurrently.

A person with the sickness may lose weight rapidly despite getting all the food they want.

With some individuals with dementia, weight loss may be a part of the dying process.

This is especially if contract cachexia an advanced disease which inhibits the body from absorbing nutrients from food even when a person is getting enough to eat.

With time, the individuals lose appetite, become tired and weak and the body gradually slows down and prepares for passing.

Pick’s Disease and Connection with Dementia

pick's disease

Are Pick’s disease and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease in any way connected?

Around 50,000 to 60,000 Americans suffer from bvFTD (behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia).

It is one of the causes of dementia that specifically affects the temporal and frontal lobes in the brain.

This can also be referred to as Pick’s disease.

Reports indicate that it was first described in 1892 by Arnold Pick, a Czech psychiatrist and neurologist. The disease got its name from this doctor.

What Causes Pick’s Dementia?

Earlier on, frontotemporal dementia and the disease were terms that were used interchangeably. Today, the illness is understood to be one of the causes of frontotemporal dementia.

The illness develops when there is an abnormal collection of tau proteins in the temporal and frontal brain lobes

These protein clusters are called Pick bodies.

The Pick bodies interfere with the brain’s transport system, which means that nutrients do not get to their destination.

As a result, some brain cells begin to die off, causing irreversible brain damage. This ends up causing behavioral, emotional, and cognitive changes in a person’s functioning.

It is mainly because the frontal lobe of the brain controls essential facets of a person’s everyday life which can include multitasking, inhibition, judgment, and planning, among others.

The temporal lobe, on the other hand, primarily affects language. The same thing happens to individuals who have other types of dementia.

Symptoms of the Pick’s Disease

symptoms of the disease

When a person has Pick’s illness, there are certain symptoms they can showcase, such as:

  • Sudden mood changes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Depression-like symptoms like disinterest in activities or people they loved before
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Hard time keeping a job
  • Withdrawal from social interactions/poor social skills
  • Inappropriate or compulsive behavior
  • Changes in eating habits where an individual starts to eat greedily or overeats consuming too many sweets or large amounts of alcohol. The person may end up gaining weight.
  • Selfishness
  • Agitation
  • Changes in sexual behavior
  • Childlike behaviors
  • Apathy
  • Irritability, etc.

A person may also experience neurological and language changes like:

  • Reduced reading or writing skills
  • Shrinking vocabulary
  • Difficulties speaking, inability to speak, or trouble understanding what others are saying
  • Repeating or echoing what another person says
  • Stuttering
  • Copying simple shapes with a paper and pencil becomes challenging
  • Rigidity
  • Physical weakness
  • Muscle stiffness

Occasionally, people with the illness will also experience:

  • Problems moving
  • Challenges with incontinence
  • Trouble with coordination

It is important to understand that the symptoms of this illness may vary widely from one individual to the next.

The symptoms of the illness are usually progressive which means that they become worse as times goes by.

The rate of worsening may also vary from one individual to another.

In most cases, memory loss does not happen immediately. This usually comes in in the later stages of the illness.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as one spots any of the above symptoms. This is because an expert can differentiate between the disease and Alzheimer’s during early onset.

A person can also get Pick’s illness at an earlier age than what is common for Alzheimer’s.

Some people will develop the disease when they are in their 20s although most people will get a diagnosis from ages 45-70.

Studies also show that more men than women get the disease.

When to See a Doctor about The Illness

pick's disease leading to dementia

Changes in mood, personality, and behavior, especially in middle-aged persons, can be a signal of the disease.

It is advisable to consult a health care provider if these changes start to interfere with:

  • How a person looks after themselves
  • An individual’s interest in participating in activities they enjoy
  • A person’s ability to maintain safety and health
  • An individual’s ability to effectively work at their job
  • A person’s ability to sustain relationships
  • How an individual handles daily tasks

One of the reasons it is important to have symptoms thoroughly checked is the fact that a majority of conditions that lead to dementia are reversible.

These include both psychological and medical problems that affect middle-aged persons and seniors as well.

When you see a doctor on time, he or she will be in a position to treat the curable conditions or at least slow them down if they cannot be stopped.

Early diagnosis of the disease also facilitates the start of early treatment.

It is usually the best time because it enhances the chances of symptoms improving.

Furthermore, it also allows the person with the illness to have ample time to plan for their future.

It may include making the necessary arrangements for care when they are no longer in a position to fully take care of themselves or make sound decisions.

Diagnosing Pick’s Disease

diagnosing picks disease
To date, there is no single test that doctors can perform to confirm that an individual has the illness.

The only way to confirm that a person has the disease is by studying the brain directly to identify the swollen neurons and Pick bodies.

The brain needs to be biopsied to make this possible.

This implies that a neurosurgeon takes a small part of the brain for testing. A pathologist will then examine the brain tissue using a microscope.

This typically happens during an autopsy after death.

When a person is alive, doctors study a person’s medical history and use special imaging tests and other tools to perform the diagnosis.

After taking a complete medical history, a qualified medical practitioner may also:

  • Ask the person to complete various writing and speech tests
  • Conduct detailed neurological examination and physical examination
  • Use PET, CT, MRI scans to look at the brain tissue
  • Talk to family members to learn about an individual’s behavior
  • Lab tests: These usually include blood tests so that the experts can rule out blood disorders, infections, hormonal disorders, chemical abnormalities, kidney or liver issues that may cause dementia symptoms

Biopsy is also becoming a popular method for offering a definite diagnosis when an individual is still breathing.

Many families are opting for this route because, in the absence of biopsy, diagnosis is based on symptoms plus ruling out other medical conditions.

Research suggests that about 25% of the people with this illness usually receive a gene from a parent that causes it.

It is still not clear what happens in other cases.

Treating Pick’s Disease

treating pick's disease
Just like the other forms of dementia, there are still no known cures for the illness.

However, doctors usually prescribe some treatments that can help deal with the symptoms of the disease.

For instance, a person may be under antipsychotics and antidepressants to help take care of behavioral and emotional changes.

The treatment aims to maximize the comfort and functioning of the people with the illness as much as possible.

Self-Care for People with Pick’s Disease

self care for people with the disease
A person with Pick’s disease should try their best to remain socially, mentally, and physically active.

Some of the things that an individual can engage in include:

1. Physical exercise

It will help to maximize mind and body functions while maintaining a healthy weight. This does not have to be something strenuous.

Something simple like taking a brisk walk for at least twenty minutes a day might do the trick.

Consuming a balanced diet for all meals and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol might also help.

2. Mental exercises

Individuals are advised to participate in as much mental activity as they can handle.

Experts believe that mental stimulation may slow down the progression of the illness.

Reading, games, puzzles, crafts, and safe hobbies are examples of some excellent choices.

We have an in-depth article written on cognitive and physical exercises for dementia.

3. Social interactions

These are not only enjoyable, but they are also stimulating for a majority of people with the disease.

Many community or senior centers have a long list of scheduled activities perfect for those people with the illness.

Research on the Illness

Many institutes, including NINDS (The National Institute of Neurological Disorders) continue to invest in the research of the disease.

Among the multiple research projects include studying the harmful effects of protein build-up and how this relates to the development of frontotemporal dementia.

Additionally, experts seek to identify the genes that are involved with this medical condition.

This can help to identify effective therapeutic approaches that will facilitate the delivery of normal genes in the hope that this will restore or enhance brain function.

Other research projects may also help people get a better understanding of the disease.

This is in regards to the doctors and caregivers who deal with people with the illness as well as the individuals who have the illness.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis

life expectancy and prognosis
A person can live with Pick’s disease for an average of five-to-nine years.

Some people, however, survive for two decades or more with the illness.

During the early stages of the disease, a person may remain independent and able to do a majority of things on their own.

As time goes by, they may need assistance to complete their day-to-day activities well.

In the advanced stages of the illness, things typically take a different turn where an individual may need to be under 24/7 care.

As with any other dementia type, it is a challenging illness for the persons experiencing it as well as the caregivers.

A report by California University revealed that the symptoms usually progress over eight-to-ten years.

When the symptoms first start appearing, it may take several years before a person goes in for the correct diagnosis.

These are some of the factors that reduce the average span between diagnosis and death to less than ten years.

The origin of the illness remains unknown. Common causes of death may include skin infections, heart failure, urinary tract, and lung diseases.

Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s (Cause?)

gum disease and alzheimer's

Many professionals conducted studies on the possible connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. Is there a link? YES and no.

Experts continue to discover startling results regarding the causes of Alzheimer’s as they persistently conduct multiple studies.

One study concluded that gum diseases might increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers who conducted the study found that there is a link between the bacteria that cause gum disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Does Gum Disease Cause Alzheimer’s?

This discovery might also open up more treatment ways for progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Some doctors and researchers, on the other hand, are not too sure about this discovery.

Let’s try and decipher whether it is possible to link Alzheimer’s to gum disease.

How the Conclusion Came To Be

causes of gum disease and Alzheimer's
Researchers who support the notion that gum diseases can lead to Alzheimer’s studied the brain tissue of people who had died with Alzheimer’s.

Most of the researchers in this study were part of a private biotech firm that goes by the name Cortexyme.

Others were working in various Universities in America like the University of California and Harvard University School of Dental Medicine.

Some employees at the Jagiellonian University in Poland, the University of Melbourne and the University of Auckland were also part of the study.

Researches on gum disease and Alzheimer’s

The researchers published their study in the Science Advances Journal.

The experts claimed to have found Porphyromonas gingivalis in the tissues. This is a bacteria that triggers gingivitis (gum disease).

This is one of the primary pathogens that make people suffer from gum disease.

Additionally, they also observed that the spinal fluid from people living with Alzheimer’s contained the bacterium’s DNA.

To further support their results, the team also detected that the brain samples of many people with Alzheimer’s had the presence of toxic enzymes that the bacterium produces.

The brain samples that recorded higher amounts of gingipains also had high amounts of ubiquitin and tau proteins that, for a long time, have been linked to Alzheimer’s.

Some experiments involved mice

The tests did not stop with human beings. The professionals also worked on several experiments with mice.

The results suggested that there is a connection between Alzheimer’s and the bacterium that causes gum diseases.

Infections and Alzheimer’s Disease

The researchers in a bid to find more conclusive results infected the gums of healthy mice with P. gingivalis.

They later observed that this bacteria was present in the brains of the mice. Other than this, there was also damage to the neurons of the animals and higher levels of beta-amyloid (a protein) in the brain tissue of the mice.

Previous studies confirmed that when beta-amyloid proteins clump together, they form what is known as plaques in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s disease.

After this move showing a positive connection between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, the researchers were also able to get rid of the infection caused by P. gingivalis in the brains of the mice. This was through the use of a molecule that blocks and binds to the gingipains.

As a result of clearing the infection, there was also a reduction in neural damage and the production of beta-amyloid.

The researchers explain that this was possible because the bacteria feeds on enzymes to produce energy and gather nutrients.

Naturally, because their work had positive results on mice, the researchers were positive that this was a treatment option for people who are living with Alzheimer’s.

What Was The Research All About?

research on gum disease and Alzheimer's
As seen above, the study was a combination of laboratory experiments on the brains of mice and those of humans.

The researchers observed post-mortem brain tissue samples from about one hundred people with and without Alzheimer’s.

They wanted to know if the brains of the people with the illness had more gingipains.

Cerebrospinal fluid and saliva that surrounds the brain and spinal cord were also put under test to confirm if there was the presence of P. gingivalsis DNA.

The experts also worked with cultured cells grown in a lab. These were infected with P. gingivalis to observe the effect it had on proteins that are usually present in the brains of people who have the illness.

Regarding the experiments on mice, the experts sought to know if infecting mice with P. gingivalis would make bacterial show up in the brain of the mice.

The mice also got a substance that inhibits gingipains to see if it would effectively treat gingipain infection.

The experts also wanted to know how this treatment compares to other antibiotics that people with gingivitis use. The researchers in this study found that more than 90% of the brain tissue from individuals with Alzheimer’s had gingipains.

The concentration was higher in persons with Alzheimer’s. P. gingivalis DNA was also present in a majority of the cerebrospinal fluid samples and all saliva samples.

All the mice also showcased signs of brain infection after a month and two weeks. After this, the researchers state that the findings of their study provide evidence that gingipains and P. gingivalis play a significant role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Previous Evidence

previous evidence
In the past, there have also been other studies that link gum diseases and Alzheimer’s.

One of them is a Taiwanese Study that uncovered the fact that people with a decade or longer history of CP (chronic periodontitis) were more likely than individuals without the condition to develop Alzheimer’s by a whopping70%.

Another study also indicated that person’s with moderate to mild Alzheimer’s with gum disease experience faster cognitive decline rates when you compare them to the other ill people without dental issues.

How Does the Bacteria Travel to the Brain

how does the bacteria travel to the brain
When looking at the possible link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, it is also important to touch on how the bacteria makes its way to the brain.

P. gingivalis is responsible for causing gum diseases like periodontitis. This is a bacteria that is quite common, seeing that one person in a group of five people under thirty usually has some level of the bacterium in their gums.

When this grows uncontrollably, it can trigger an immune response that can lead to inflammation increase. This is usually a key factor that is associated with Alzheimer’s. Experts reveal that it is very easy for P. gingivalis to travel to the brain from the mouth using the mouse model.

To show evidence of this, researches infected healthy mice with the bacterium and later found it in the brain. The experts concluded that bacterial from gum diseases might access the brain by spreading through cranial nerves via the jaw and head or through the infection of immune system cells.

Reasons some Doctors Refute the Results of the Study

reasons some doctors refute the results of the study
Even though some experts agree with the fact that there is a connection between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, others claim that there is no way this is possible.

Dr. Rawan Tarawneh an assistant professor and cognitive neurologist is one of the professionals who does not believe that it is possible to link Alzheimer’s to gum diseases. He claims that the research has numerous limitations.

For one, he says that the research does not showcase strong evidence to support the cause and effect relationship between Alzheimer’s and P. gingivalis. He also points out that the researchers should take time to search for amyloid deposits in people’s brains and not just in mice.

A Ph.D. professor of neurology Rudolph Tanzi also supports this, saying that the study is still so small; thus, there is no need for overhyping the results.

He said that there was still a need for other researchers to take up the study in a bid to provide more conclusive results that the industry can use without any doubts.

Worth noting nonetheless is that the study is still very young and as time progresses and researchers can offer more evidence, some professionals may end up changing their stand on this topic.

Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s- The Way Forward

the way forward
Despite some professionals saying that there may be no link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, participants of the study are starting clinical trials that will test a drug that is similar to the one they used on mice.

The experiments may give scientists and other professionals better insight on the role that P. gingicalis plays in Alzheimer’s development.

The drug, however, still has a long way before the FDA approves it.

Closing Remarks

While a section of experts can prove that there is a link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, ultimately, it may not be right to state that a single infectious agent or toxin is responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease in everyone who has the illness.

This is because numerous factors may be involved in the development of the disease that takes about 15-20 years to run its course.

These may include genetic predispositions like APOE4, gender, and age, amongst others.

Regarding dental hygiene, extensive research still needs to be done to determine its true relationship to Alzheimer’s. This said, it is vital to take care of your dental health every day. Brush your teeth, floss, and visit a dentist regularly.

This way, you may escape being at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s because of neglecting dental hygiene.

If you happen to have any gum diseases, treat them right away.

Experts also link these to other health problems, including heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke.

Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

late onset alzheimer's disease

It is known that late onset Alzheimer’s disease is the most common one in older adults.

But first, let’s take a look at the bigger picture, causes, factors, symptoms and treatments of Alzheimer’s disease.

Different people develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at different stages in their lives. For some, a positive diagnosis happens before they turn 65 years, which is mostly in their 40s or 50s.

This is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Others, on the other hand, will get the disease when they are 65 years or older. This is known as late onset Alzheimer’s, and it is the most common form of the illness responsible for about 90% of Alzheimer’s cases.

The irreversible disease is a leading cause of death in seniors behind heart disease and cancer.

Let’s explore this illness in detail below.

Causes of Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

causes of late onset alzheimers disease
To date, scientists and other parties involved have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of this illness.

The question of why some individuals get it and others do not remain a mystery.

Researchers have not yet identified a particular gene that is behind the development of Alzheimer’s.

While some say that Alzheimer’s is hereditary, the fact cannot be substantiated because it may or may not run in the family.

There are instances where both parents may get the illness and their child does not end up getting it.

What factors are behind the development of the disease?

the stages of late onset Alzheimer’s
Experts agree that Alzheimer’s is likely not the result of a single cause, but a combination of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors.

For instance, a mutation of the ApoE gene is believed to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s after hitting 65 years.

Conversely, it is not the cause of the illness. The National Institutes of Health states that ApoE is responsible for how cholesterol moves in the blood.

Some studies suggest that individuals who have high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Recent research also suggests that viral and bacterial infections play a significant role in the development of the illness.

Because of ongoing research, scientists are positive that soon they will be able to come up with a detailed explanation of the multiple Alzheimer’s causes so that people can have a better understanding of this disease.

Symptoms of Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

symptoms of late onset alzheimers disease
AD affects people in different ways.

The most common symptom pattern, however, usually starts with continuing challenges in remembering new information.

This happens because the neurological disorder affects the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory and learning.

Other warning signs

Other warning signs of this disease include:

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s (late onset) typically begin to show when a person is in their mid-60s.

Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, the symptoms become worse as the neurological deterioration progresses.

During the later stages of the disease, the affected person may have to get into 24/7 care because they are not able to live independently.

Alzheimer’s disease Diagnosis

alzheimers disease diagnosis
Experts are continually working on techniques to identify the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s in a bid to offer early intervention effectively.

This, in turn, helps to delay significant impairments.

For the longest time, a thorough post-mortem microscopic brain examination was the definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

This was not helping too much because the diagnosis needs to be made when a person is alive.

What’s necessary for AD diagnosis

Nowadays, experts can diagnose AD with over 95% accuracy in living humans.

A combination of tools come into play including:

  • A person’s medical history plus that of their families
  • Neuropsychologic tests to assess cognitive function
  • Multiple laboratory tests: medics usually conduct this to identify secondary causes of the illness such as medical conditions that are common with golden-agers. These might include blood count, glucose levels, serum electrolytes, Vitamin B12 Hepatic function panels, creatinine ration, and so forth.
  • Neuroimaging: this helps to table appropriate details on brain structures to help exclude treatable conditions

The list above is not exhaustive but covers the most essential AD diagnosis tools.

Because people experience the illness differently, a doctor may prescribe more tests to conduct the diagnosis comprehensively.

In regards to diagnosis for late onset Alzheimer’s, it is important to note that misdiagnosis is bound to happen in some cases.

This is because the illness shares symptoms with other medical disorders. It is the reason it is crucial to get a proper diagnosis to manage the disease better.

Treatment for Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

treatment for late onset alzheimers disease
Despite ongoing research and studies, experts have not come up with a cure for AD. This does not mean that a positive diagnosis implies suffering and immediate death.

People who have this illness can live up to 8 years or more after the development of the disease. A couple of factors can affect longevity such as:

1. Gender

Many studies suggest that women live longer than men after Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

2. Brain abnormalities

Persons who have a combination of Alzheimer’s, brain, and spinal cord issues tend to die faster than those who do not have all these medical conditions.

The same applies to other health problems where individuals with diabetes or heart attacks have shorter lifespans than people who do not have other complicating health factors.

3. The severity of symptoms

Persons who have severe motor impairment like tendencies to get lost or wander and falls tend to have shorter life experiences.

Several coping mechanisms are put in place to help individuals with the disease live fuller, more independent, and satisfying lives for the longest possible time like:

Use of Medication

use of medication
Certain medicines are available to help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s temporarily such as:

AChE inhibitors

Acetylcholinesterase are drugs that help to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. This is a substance that helps to improve communication between nerve cells.

Only specialists like neurologists or psychiatrists can prescribe the drugs.

A general GP can also do it but it has to be under the direction of the specialists.

Most recent guidelines recommend that the people who should take the medicines are the ones in the middle or severe stages of the illness.

Persons on these medications need to be aware of some side effects they may experience.

The most common ones include loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. For most people, side effects get better after some time of taking the medication.


This is a drug that has been designed to block the effects of excess glutamate a chemical in the brain. Persons can use this for moderate and severe Alzheimer’s.

It comes in handy for individuals who cannot tolerate AChE inhibitors.

Additionally, people who are on AChE inhibitors can also take the drugs. The known side effects of these medications include temporary constipation, headaches, and dizziness.

To get more fine points about the side effects, consult a professional or doctor for an individual consultancy.

Physicians might also prescribe other medicines like antidepressants that can help deal with behavioral changes.


Treatment can also involve different types of therapies that are beneficial when caring for a person with Alzheimer’s. These can include:

Cognitive rehabilitation

This is where the ill person works closely with an occupational therapist or any other professional to achieve a personal goal.

This can be anything from learning how to use a phone, computer, or completing a daily task.

This rehabilitation aims at getting the parts of the brain that are working to assist the ones that are not functioning as they should.


This involves talking about events and things from a person’s past.

The use of props such as music, photos, and other possessions, can make this exercise more productive.

You can combine this with life story works that involve a collection of notes, photographs, and keepsakes from the suffering individual’s childhood through old age.

Studies show that these are effective when coping with late onset Alzheimer’s because it helps to enhance good mood and wellbeing.

Preventing Late Onset Alzheimer’s

preventing late onset alzheimers
Similar to the cure situation of Alzheimer’s, there is still no sure way of preventing the development of the disease.

Experts continue to conduct multiple studies on preventive measures, but the results are usually inconsistent.

However, several lifestyle factors might help to reduce the risk of the illness, such as:


Studies suggest that earing right might help keep the disease away.

You should purpose to always indulge in a balanced diet that mainly constitutes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.

Physical Movement

Evidence puts forward the benefits of exercise for the brain, which may help reduce the risk of suffering from progressive disease.

Intellectual activities

Research suggests that exercising the brain through activities like writing, reading, playing games, and doing puzzles help stimulate the brain health.

Anyone who has Alzheimer’s must consult a healthcare professional first before making any key lifestyle change to be on the safe side.

Closing Remarks

More elderly people are getting a positive diagnosis of late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Management of the illness is quite complex because there is no cure.

There is a need for a comprehensive care approach that not only focuses on the person with the disease but caregivers as well.

Early diagnosis is beneficial because affected individuals can then work closely with their relatives and doctors to lead fuller and more gratifying lives.

Sadly, it may reach a point where persons with Alzheimer’s may need to move to care facilities or have professional caregivers at their beck and call at home.

Managing Agitation and Dementia

agitation and dementia

When looking after a person who has dementia, carers may at some point have to deal with agitation and dementia.

Agitation is one of the behavioral symptoms that affect almost 90% of people who have dementia according to a post by Harvard Health Publishing.

Very well Health defines agitation as a general term that describes the excessive verbal activity and physical movement.

Most people will experience agitation in the middle stages of dementia. Agitation can include pacing, restlessness, combativeness, verbal aggression, wandering, calling out, and crying.

Below we will look into the causes of agitation, prevention strategies, and coping mechanisms.

Causes of Agitation in Persons with Dementia

causes of agitation in persons with dementia
People with dementia may experience agitation for various reasons such as:

  • Different medical conditions a person is suffering from in addition to dementia
  • Drug interactions
  • Not enough sleep or rest
  • Moving to a new living environment like a nursing home or assisted living facility
  • Pain
  • Changes to their current environment like the presence of house guests, too much noise, hospitalization, or travel
  • Boredom
  • Unfamiliar caregivers
  • Depression or stress
  • Soiled diapers or underwear
  • Fatigue or fear that may be as a result of trying to make sense of their new reality
  • Misperceived threats
  • Being forced to do something by others, for instance, to remember events or people
  • Loneliness or reduced social contact
  • A feeling of loss, for example, a person may be missing the freedom they had to move about

Coping with Agitation and Aggression

coping with agitation and aggression
When taking care of a person who has agitation and dementia, it may be advisable to consult a doctor for a thorough medical check-up.

The professional will recommend treatment based on a careful diagnosis that helps them to determine possible causes. In some instances, the doctor may prescribe medication that will help reduce agitation.

Sadly, most medicines come with a wide range of side effects such as stroke, heart problems, risk of falls, or even death.

People can also try non-drug therapies to help manage agitation such as:

Touch therapy

Physical touch is important when it comes to diminishing agitation.


Listening to music or singing has been known to reduce agitation in persons who have dementia.

Physical Activity

Working out can help decrease challenging behaviors such as agitation.

Address Unmet Needs

Meet the needs of someone who is bored, tired, hungry, lonely, or in pain.

Different Therapies

At times, caregivers must try and be creative when it comes to managing agitation. This includes experimenting with various therapies and activities.

Examples of therapies include aromatherapy and pet therapy amongst others. Activities that can help calm down an agitated person include folding and refolding laundry, dancing, and brushing hair.

Offering Distractions

Try and distract the person with the things they love. These can be activities, objects, or even food.

Join a Support Group

Spending time with people who are going through a similar situation can help them learn more coping mechanisms.

This can also give caregivers an avenue where they can vent, relax, and re-energize.

Responding to Agitation in Persons with Dementia

responding to agitation in persons with dementia
It is important to know how to react when dealing with an individual experiencing agitation and dementia. Below we highlight some tips caregivers can work with to deal with the situation at hand.

1. Ask permission to speak while backing off. Remember to always use positive statements, a calm reassuring voice, and offer guided choices to try and limit stimulation.

Try and find common ground when communicating with an agitated person. Avoid restraining, arguing, ignoring, shouting, or criticizing the individual.

2. Ask the affected person how they want to be helped in a soft tone. Reassure the individual that they are safe and everything is under control.

Apologize even when there is nothing to be sorry for. Offer to stay with the individual until they feel better.

Carers can also say something like sorry you are upset or I know you are going through a challenging time because this can help calm them down.

3. Try and find out what may be causing the agitation by listening to the individual.

It is also important to remember that the individual is not acting out because they want to but it is the disease that is making them act out.

4. Find ways for the person to use up their energy. A person may be agitated because they have built-up energy.

This implies that carers should find something for them to do like going out for a drive or walk.

Prevention and Treatment Tips

prevention and treatment tips
Caregivers can take various steps to help prevent agitation for persons with dementia and these include

Creating a Calm Environment

If a carer suspects that an individual is at risk of experiencing agitation and dementia, they can prevent it by creating a calm environment for the suffering person.

Identify any stressors that may be in the environment and ensure that they are eliminated. This can be anything from background distractions, glare, and noise.

If a person’s current environment has too many triggers, it may be best to move them to a quieter or safer place.

Limiting the use of caffeine and exploring soothing rituals can also help.

Ensuring Personal Comfort

Agitation may be brought about when a person is not comfortable and they are not able to communicate what they are feeling.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of caregivers to monitor personal comfort. This is simply done by checking for signs of thirst, hunger, pain, full bladder, constipation, skin irritation, fatigue, or infections.

Make sure that the room where the person is staying has comfortable temperatures. It is also important to be sensitive to misperceived threats, frustrations, and fears.

Simplifying Chores

If a person who has dementia is still able to handle some tasks, ensure they only engage in tasks they can handle with ease.

It is also important to ensure that the person sticks to non-complicated routines that do not stress them out.

Help Individuals Engage in Physical Activity

Encourage the person with the illness to take part in fun and appropriate exercises. This does not have to be complicated.

Doing some gardening, going for short walks, group activities, and dancing are examples of some options to explore.

Closing Thoughts

Keep in mind that different people will react differently when experiencing agitation and dementia.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the caregiver to experiment with different coping mechanisms to identify the ones that work well for the person they are looking after.

Wandering and Dementia (Comprehensive Guide)

wandering and dementia

Many people with dementia may at one time have to deal with wandering and dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 6 in 10 people who have dementia will wander. This normally happens in the early stages of the illness.

Studies also show that the risk of wandering is usually higher for men than women.

Read on to find out more details about wandering including symptoms, causes, management & prevention strategies, caregiver goals, and planning for emergencies.

Warning Signs for Wandering in Dementia

warning signs for wandering in dementia
There are several symptoms loved ones or caregivers can look out for to know if a person with dementia is at risk of wandering and some of them include:

  • Forgetting how to get to familiar places
  • Taking longer periods to get back home from regular drives or walks
  • Wanting or trying to “go home” even when a person is at home already
  • Talking about fulfilling former obligations like going to the office
  • Pacing, making repetitive movements, or being restless often
  • Asking about the whereabouts of past relatives or friends
  • Having a hard time accessing familiar places in the house like the dining room, bathroom, or bedroom
  • Acting anxious or nervous in public places with crowds such as restaurants or malls
  • Acting as if a person is engaging in a chore or hobby but they are not getting anything done. For instance, a person may be in the kitchen with a pot but they are not cooking anything

Reasons People with Dementia May Wander

reasons people with dementia may wander
The exact causes of wandering are not yet fully understood.

However, there are certain triggers associated with wandering and dementia and some of them include but are not limited to:

Fear or Stress

Individuals with dementia may start to wander as a reaction to feeling nervous in their current environment.

New Environments

People with dementia may feel disoriented or uncertain when they have to adapt to a changed environment like a new home or care center.

Many people may also want to escape from busy or noisy spaces. Wandering may stop once a person gets used to the chances.

Unmet Basic Needs

A person may wander off as they go looking for water, food, or the bathroom. Some people may also want to explore the outdoors and forget the way back home.

Loss of Short-Term Memory

Wandering may be caused by loss of memory. An individual may set off to go visit a friend or go to the shops and then forget where they are going or why.

A person may also forget that their loved one was going out and set off to look for them.


Affected individuals may get lost while looking for something or someone like a long-lost friend.

Excessive Energy

An individual may also start wandering as a way of using excess energy, which is one of the reasons why patients with dementia walk so much. It may be an indication that the individual needs to exercise more.

Visual-Spatial Issues

Individuals with dementia may get lost even in familiar places because the illness affects the areas of the brain that are responsible for navigation and guidance, even vision.

Expressing Boredom and Loneliness

People with dementia find it more challenging to concentrate on one thing as the illness progresses. Wandering can be one of the ways they keep occupied.

Following Past Routines

Some people will wander off as they try to go back to their former workplaces or grocery stores.

Devices to assist caregivers with monitoring wandering

ProductFeaturesAvailable on Amazon
Bed Alarm for Elderly Dementia PatientsBed Alarm for Elderly Dementia PatientsMotion sensor
Portable pager
Fall prevention
Easy to install
Caregiver Pager, Wireless Panic Buttons Elderly Monitoring AssistanceCaregiver Pager, Wireless Panic Buttons Elderly Monitoring AssistanceIntercom
58 loud chimes
Easy to install
500ft wireless
4pc Security Home Camera4pc Security Home Camera24/7 full HD recording
Enhanced night vision
Video alarm system
AI identification
Home app for family
Cordless Bed Exit Monitoring System AlarmSmart Caregiver Corporation Cordless Bed Exit Monitoring System Alarm with Bed Pressure Sensing PadPrevent falls & wandering
Wireless portable (300ft)
Pressure pad and monitor
Elderly Cellular Medical Alert DeviceElderly Cellular Medical Alert Device| Wearable Panic Button Necklace | Medical Alert Systems for Seniors Fall detection
2-way communication
5 emergency contacts
Lifetime warranty
Elderly Cellular Medical Alert SmartwatchElderly Cellular Medical Alert Device | Medical Alert SmartwatchFall detector
2-way communication
Heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen monitor
Lifetime warranty

Strategies for Preventing and Managing Wandering

strategies for preventing and managing wandering with dementia patients
While chances of wandering are pretty high, there are various prevention and management tips that caregivers can use to help reduce the chances such as:

Visiting a Doctor

When a person with dementia starts to wander, it is advisable to consult a doctor who will conduct a physical check-up.

This helps to identify whether discomfort, pain, or an existing illness is triggering wandering. It may help to discuss any side-effects of medication that the person is taking.

It is best to avoid medication that increases confusion or causes drowsiness and incontinence

Creating Daily Routines

When looking after a person who is battling both wandering and dementia, it is advisable to create a routine the person with the illness follows every day.

This helps to offer structure so that the affected individual is “busy” all day lowering the chances of wandering. Where possible, identify the times of the day or night where the individual is most likely to wander.

This is the best time to plan fun activities or appropriate exercise for the person. It can help reduce agitation, restlessness, and anxiety.

Offer Reassurance

If a person with dementia is feeling abandoned, disoriented, or lost; caregivers should communicate in a reassuring manner.

Focus mostly on validation and exploration. For example, if a person insists that they need to go “home” or to “work” caregivers can tell them something like “It is okay, we will be staying here tonight where we will be safe and can go home or to work in the morning.”

Do not try and correct the person because it can lead to more confusion and agitation.

Meet Basic Needs

Some people with dementia will wander because their basic needs have not been fulfilled. It is; therefore, the responsibility of carers to ensure they meet all their basic needs on time.

This includes making sure they eat well, hydrate, and go to the bathroom when need be.

Avoid Busy Places

This can be anywhere from grocery stores, shopping malls, and other busy avenues. These places can be confusing causing disorientation.

Remove Access to Car Keys

If the person is no longer driving; ensure that car keys are not in sight. This is because persons with dementia do not only wander on foot.

It is easy for individuals to forget that they can no longer drive. If a person can safely drive, it may be best to use a GPS device so that if they get lost, they can be found easily.

Additionally, it is also advisable to keep shoes, hats, coats, and other items that are associated with leaving home out of sight.

Offer Supervision

When taking care of a person with dementia, keep an eye on them especially when visiting new environments so that they do not get lost.

Do not lock the affected individual in a car or house alone.

Beef up Security

There are several options to explore when it comes to this.

For instance, installing door locks that are either high or low so that they are out of the line of sight and not easily accessible by individuals with the illness.

Camouflaging doors by placing removable curtains over doors or painting them a color that matches the surrounding walls can also help.

Investing in devices that signal when windows or doors open can also be helpful. This can be a sophisticated electronic home alarm system or a simple bell placed above the door and window.

This alerts caregivers when people with dementia are attempting to leave the house.

Identification Card

It is also important for the person with dementia to have an identification card on them at all times.

Additionally, they can also wear medical bracelets, or put on clothes that have labels with their information.

Planning For Emergencies

planning for emergencies
When it comes to looking after a person experiencing wandering and dementia, it is important to have a plan in place for emergency situations.

This is because wandering can pose various safety issues particularly in very cold or hot temperatures. Some of the plans that can be put in place include:

  • Having a list of people to contact for help- Store phone numbers where they are easily accessible.
  • Request neighbors, family, and friends to call if they see the person with dementia staying alone.
  • Take close-up photos of affected individuals regularly and have updated medical information that can be given to the police.
  • Create a List of Places an Individual may Wander- These can include places such as former homes, past job locations, former schools, favorite restaurants, and places of worship.
  • Study the Neighbourhood Well- this helps to note down potentially dangerous spots near the house such as open stairwells, water bodies, tunnels, dense foliage, bus stops, and roads with heavy traffic.
  • To be on the safe side, it is best to consider enrolling an individual with a wandering response service.

If a person happens to wander try and stay calm as you begin the start the search and rescue efforts as soon as possible.

In most cases, persons who wander are usually found within one and a half miles of where they disappeared. If the person is not found within the fifteen minutes, file a missing person’s report by immediately calling 911.

Do not forget to let the authorities know that the individual has dementia.

Wandering and Dementia Caregiver Goals

When responding to wandering from persons who have dementia, care goals can be categorized into:

1. Encouraging, maintaining, and supporting choice and mobility enabling the person to move around independently and safely.

2. Assessing and managing the causes of wandering paying close attention to meeting basic needs.

3. Prevent unsafe wandering.

There is still limited research when it comes to wandering and dementia.

However, caregivers can still respond to the new development appropriately to ensure the person with dementia remains safe and happy.

High Blood Pressure and Alzheimer’s Risk

blood pressure and alzheimer's

New research suggests there may be a link between hypertension or high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood pushing against blood vessels becomes too high.

This can cause harm because it stresses not only the blood vessels but the heart as well.

The blood vessels cease to function properly because they have to work harder than normal.

Over time, the arteries will become narrower which can result in problems such as stroke, kidney failure, or heart disease.

Damaged small blood vessels can also negatively affect the sections of the brain responsible for memory and thinking.

Blood Pressure and Alzheimer’s Risk

Persons with higher blood pressure are also more likely to have brain lesions. These are the areas of dead tissues that develop because of low blood supply.

AHA statistics report that about 46% of America’s adult population has blood pressure. Not to mention, 16% do not even know they have the condition.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Dementia is a general term for the progressive loss of memory and other cognitive abilities that can seriously interfere with a person’s day-to-day life.

High blood pressure can affect the brain

high blood pressure can affect the brain
Scientists believe that hypertension can also affect a person’s brain to the extent of developing some of the main markers for AD.

A study published in Neurology states that seniors who have higher average blood pressure compared to their age-mates are more likely to develop plaques and tangles in the brain which are both markers for Alzheimer’s.

The study had 1,288 participants who were 65 years and older. The researchers conducted annual cognitive testing and blood pressure checks on the subjects.

Moreover, experts also kept track of the medications the participants took and their medical histories. They also agreed to go through a brain autopsy after death to look for signs of brain aging like plaques and tangles.

Researchers discovered that persons who had higher than average blood pressure had more dead tissues resulting from strokes (blocked blood flow) as well as tangles and plaques.

Dr. Claudia Padilla, a neurologist, explained that plaques and tangles happen when proteins that the body produces break down into toxic forms which significantly affect neurons in the brain.

Director of global science initiatives at Alzheimer’s Association, James Hendrix, Ph.D. notes that damage that the toxic proteins cause is only part of the problem.

He said that lack of sufficient blood flow affects how the brain works around damaged tissue which can worsen symptoms of brain tissue damage.

Hypertension may not be the warning sign of AD

hypertension may not be the warning sign of AD
Padilla also stated that because this was an observational study on the relationship between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease, the results do not prove that hypertension causes warning signs of AD.

The study did not determine how higher average late-life blood pressure ends up increasing plaques and tangles in the brain.

However, she added that the study found a clear association between higher blood pressure in late life and the presence of protein plaques and tangles which are symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Based on the findings of the study, Padilla considers it important to control blood pressure as a strategy for preventing cognitive decline.

In another interesting study on the relationship between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s, a Johns Hopkins analysis of formerly gathered data revealed that individuals who took prescribed blood pressure medication were half as likely to develop AD than those who did not.

The report established earlier work from researchers at Johns Hopkins who found that using potassium-sparing diuretics reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by about 75%.

The risk was reduced by a third for persons who used any kind of antihypertensive drugs. Director of Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Constantine Lyketsos, M.D said that they found that if a person did not have Alzheimer’s and they were taking blood pressure medication, they were less likely to develop dementia.

He continues to say that if a person developed dementia from AD and was taking certain antihypertensive, the illness was less likely to progress.

They were not sure if this connection arises from better management of blood pressure or there are specific drugs that end up interfering with processes that relate to AD. Lyketsos suspected that both play a role.

Controlling your levels of blood pressure is important

controlling your levels of blood pressure is important
An in-depth examination of long-term data from 4 countries by a team of global scientists also supported the idea that controlling high blood pressure can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

The experts cross-referenced data from 6 large longitudinal studies. They observed the heath of more than 31,000 adults who were 55 years and above.

The scientists analyzed data from community-based comprehensive health studies conducted between 1987 and 2008 in France, United States, Netherlands, and Iceland.

They looked into 5 primary types of blood pressure drugs diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and angiotensin II receptor blockers.

The data was divided into 2 groups; 15, 553 people with normal blood pressure, and 15,537 people with high blood pressure.

In all, there were 1,741 Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses over time.

The results showed that treating hypertension reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 16% regardless of the type of antihypertensive medication a person was on.

In other words, it is important to take the link between lowering blood pressure and Alzheimer’s risk seriously.

High blood pressure medication can boost blood flow to the brain

high blood pressure medication can boost blood flow to the brain
A small clinical trial also revealed that using blood pressure medication for treatment can enhance blood flow to key brain regions in persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was part of a larger trial that was looking into whether nilvadipine could improve thinking and memory skills with persons with Alzheimer’s.

It involved a trial of 44 participants who had mild to moderate AD. The average age of the participants was 77 years.

They were randomly assigned to either use blood pressure medication nilvadipine or inactive placebo pills for 6 months. At the end of the trial, specialized MRI scans showed the persons on the drugs recorded a 20% increase in blood flow to the hippocampus.

This is the structure of the brain that is involved in learning and memory.

These are the first areas that Alzheimer’s damages.

Persons on the real drug also indicated that their blood pressure dropped by eleven points when compared to the group that was on the placebo.

Experts, however, acknowledged that the size of the study was too small and short.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to conclusively indicate whether enhanced blood flow could have effects on the symptoms.

The lead author Dr. Jurgen Claassen hoped that future research could give a better answer to the query and it should mostly focus on persons with early Alzheimer’s.

He, however, explained that persons with early-stage AD showed benefits.

Closing Remarks

Even though several studies have linked high blood pressure to Alzheimer’s symptoms more research is still required.

The findings of the studies affirm that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain.

We can reduce hypertension through various lifestyle changes like physical exercise, eating a healthy diet, and reducing sodium. Some medications can also help lower blood pressure.

Do Concussions Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

do concussions cause alzheimers

There has been a lot of concern as to whether concussions cause Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the medical field.

This is mostly because the immediate effects of a head injury can include symptoms that are seen in the disease. These would be memory loss, confusion, and changes in speech, personality, and vision.

Can Concussions Increase Risk for Alzheimer’s

These symptoms can quickly vanish, last for some time, or become permanent depending on the severity of the injury.

Also, the symptoms that develop after an injury in most cases will not become worse over time something synonymous with AD.

This said some kinds of head injuries increase the risk of a person developing Alzheimer’s later in life.

Concussions can stimulate cognitive decline

concussions can stimulate cognitive decline
Research reveals that concussions can accelerate the development of cognitive decline and brain atrophy.

These relate to Alzheimer’s in people who are at the genetic risk of this progressive illness.

This is especially true for people who carry one form of the APOE (apolipoprotein) gene. This gene has the potential to increase the risk of AD.

These findings are documented in the journal Brain and they show promise of identifying the influence that concussions have on neurodegeneration.

One of the environmental risk factors of developing neurodegenerative illnesses such as late-onset Alzheimer’s is a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury.

It is still not yet clear whether concussion or mild traumatic brain injury also contribute to increasing the risk.

Several studies have been conducted to try and establish the link between Alzheimer’s disease and concussions. Check out details of a few of these studies below.

Researchers from BUSM (Boston University School of Medicine), observed 160 war veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The group comprised some people who had never suffered a concussion and others who had suffered one or more concussions.

The researchers measured the thickness of the participant’s cerebral cortex using MRI imaging in 7 regions. These are usually the first to indicate atrophy in AD and 7 control regions.

The experts stated that they found that lower cortical thickness in some of the regions of the brain caused by a concussion was first to be affected in AD.

Assistant professor of psychiatry at BUSM and research psychologist at the National Centre for PTSD Jasmeet Hayes, Ph.D. and corresponding author of the study explained that the results suggested that concussions when combined with genetic factors may be associated with accelerated memory decline and cortical thickness in areas that are relevant to Alzheimer’s.

Concussions have an impact on the young brain, too

concussions have an impact on the young brain
The researchers noted that the brain abnormalities appeared in a relatively young group. The average age of the participants was 32 years.

The researchers translated this to imply that the influence of concussions on neurodegeneration can be detected early in a person’s lifetime.

They, therefore, advised that after suffering a concussion, it is important to document as much as possible.

But at least when it happened and the symptoms that a person showcased. This is because when concussions combine with other factors like genetics, they can cause long-term health consequences.

The experts were hopeful that other researchers will build on their findings to give a clear answer when asked if concussions cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Head injuries can cause AD twice as likely

head injuries can cause AD twice as likely
Another study revealed that young adults who suffer from moderate or severe head injury are two times likely to develop AD later in life.

This was after Dr. Brenda Plassman and her colleagues from Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina conducted research trying to find the link between Alzheimer’s and head injury in over 7000 US marine and Navy veterans from World War II.

The subjects of the study included 548 veterans who had experienced a head injury and 1228 who did not have any head injuries.

The experts discovered that people with a history of head injury were more than double the risk of developing AD.

Moderate head injury was associated with a 2.3 times increase in risk.

In addition to that, severe head injury was associated with more than 4 times the risk.

Severe head injury, in this case, was one where a person remained unconscious and was admitted to a hospital.

Moderate injury referred to bouts of amnesia or loss of consciousness that lasts for less than 30 minutes after the injury.

Do genes have a role?

do genes have a role
The experts also went ahead to test for the presence of the apolipoprotein E gene. Participants who had this gene were 14 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

Because there was no apparent relationship with a head injury and APOE gene, the researchers suggested that more work is necessary.

This will allow us to understand the effects of the gene and a head injury better. Potentially, more research will also give a better understanding of the causes of AD.

Yet another study reported that brain scans of elderly persons with a prior head injury and poor memory have more build-up of plaque associated with AD which supports that concussions may cause Alzheimer’s disease.

In this study associate professor of neurology and epidemiology at Mayo Clinic Rochester and her team evaluated 448 residents of Olmsted County who did not have any signs of memory problems.

They also studied 141 residents who had mild cognitive impairment (thinking and memory problems).

All the participants of this study were 70 years and above.

Before the study, they all reported whether they had experienced a brain injury that caused the loss of memory or consciousness.

The researchers conducted brain scans on all the subjects.

The results revealed that persons who had cognitive impairment and concussion history had amyloid plaques levels that were 18% higher than those who did not have a history of head trauma but had cognitive impairment.

They concluded that the link between concussions and AD is quite complex. This is because the results showed an association but not a cause and effect link.

Risk Factors for Developing Alzheimer’s After a Concussion

risk factors for developing alzheimers after a concussion
Scientific research supports the idea that suffering concussions may increase the chances of a person developing AD.

Some factors also seem to affect the risk of concussions causing Alzheimer’s disease and these include:


The age when a person suffers from a concussion may have an impact on whether they end up developing AD.

Several studies suggest that suffering concussions at a young age increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This applies to when a person is older.

The severity of the Injury

The risk of concussions causing Alzheimer’s disease increases with the severity of the injury.

Repeated mild injuries may also increase an individual’s risk for future problems with reasoning and thinking.


Keep in mind, although concussions can increase the risk of developing AD, other factors also play a role.

Not everyone who suffers a severe head injury will end up developing the disease.

More research is still necessary to understand the link between Alzheimer’s disease and concussions.

Obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease – Risk?

obesity and alzheimer's disease

When looking into the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), researchers have been paying close attention to the relationship between obesity and Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Association reports that over 5 million people in the US are living with AD. Unfortunately, we expect this number to rise to almost 14 million by 2050.

Does Obesity Increase Alzheimer’s Risk?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that results in loss of memory, cognitive skills, and also causes changes in behavior.

The increasing rate of this progressive illness means that it is important to identify the biomarkers that tell when a person is at high risk of developing AD.

Early diagnosis can lead to the development of treatment and prevention strategies with a positive impact.

What is obesity?

We can describe obesity as a complex condition that involves too much body fat according to Mayo Clinic.

This increases the risk of a person suffering other health problems like diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers, and high blood pressure.

Experts also state that obesity is one of the risk factors for developing AD.

This is because obesity often leads to insulin resistance. Data suggests that in middle age, insulin resistance can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease through numerous pathways.

These include dysfunctional brain insulin and decreased brain glucose metabolism which can result in increased amyloid deposition as well as reduced brain volume.

Results from human and animal studies show that subjects with AD have increased brain insulin resistance.

Worth noting is that excessive insulin in a person’s bloodstream ends up interfering with the energy supply in the brain. This is primarily because it lowers the amount of glucose or fuel that reaches the brain.

Obesity can contribute to Alzheimer’s

obesity can contribute to alzheimer's
Over the years, research has revealed that obesity and related comorbidities as potential contributors to Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology.

This suggests that conditions like poor-quality diet, diabetes, and a sedentary lifestyle may be part of AD’s modifiable risk factors.

A study published in Obesity Reviews examined possible mechanisms in the relationship between AD and obesity.

This also included recommended treatment strategies that may play a role in the development as well as the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Reports from numerous animal and human studies suggest that there is a link between obesity and Alzheimer’s.

Obesity and higher body mass index (BMI) have been linked to reduced white matter, brain atrophy, cognitive decline, the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, and an increased risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s.

The calculated effect size of obesity for the neurodegenerative disease was 1.54 according to various results from longitudinal epidemiological studies.

Strong evidence points to midlife obesity as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

A cross-sectional study that was published in Obesity revealed that there is an inverse relationship between cognitive function and BMI among healthy middle-aged adults.

Several observational studies have also reported that obesity in mid-life increases the risk of dementia later in life.

Weight loss can occur later in life due to the disease

weight loss can occur later in life due to the disease
Even though there seems to be a connection between obesity and Alzheimer’s, this association tends to shift later in life.

According to the statistics about 20%-45% of patients with Alzheimer’s tend to experience weight loss as the illness progresses.

There may be a possibility that a decline in BMI that goes before AD diagnosis may be related to the neurodegeneration sections of the brain that are responsible for homeostatic weight regulation.

Several factors can contribute to weight loss including decreased motivation for self-care,, paying less attention to mealtime, social withdrawal, and altered metabolism amongst others.

At times, genetic factors might also come into play.

For instance, there have been reports on a connection between increased weight loss in AD and the presence of the APOE gene.

Inappropriate diet has a degenerating impact on the body and mind

inappropriate diet has a degenerating impact on the body and mind
Another study on the association between obesity and Alzheimer’s suggests that when HFS (high-sugar and high-fat) diet linked to obesity is paired with normal aging, it can lead to the development of AD.

You can find the details of this study in Physiological Reports. The study was conducted by researchers from Brock University in Ontario, Canada.

They chose to look at the effects of an obesity-inducing diet on insulin signaling which is the process that lets the body know how to use sugar as well as markers of cellular stress, and inflammation.

These are some of the factors that play a role in the progression of Alzheimer’s during the aging process in mice.

There were two groups of mice one on a normal diet and the other on HSF.

The researchers measured the animals’ stress and inflammation levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus areas of the brain after 13 weeks of the allocated diets.

The prefrontal cortex oversees complex cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functions. The hippocampus deals with long-term memory.

Obesity affects aging and brain functioning

obesity affects aging and brain function
After comparing the two groups of mice, the experts found that the HFS had higher markers for insulin resistance, inflammation, and cellular stress in the hippocampus region.

This is thought to play a role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Their prefrontal cortex region also showed more signs of insulin resistance.

On the other hand, there were no alterations in cellular stress and inflammation markers.

The researchers concluded that the region-specific differences between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in regards to aging with an HFS diet shows that the pathology of the disease is not uniform in all section of the brain.

When compared to baseline readings, the control group also recorded an increase in inflammation levels.

The results according to this study indicate that although age plays a role in the progression of AD, obesity also worsens the effects of aging on the function of the brain.

The research team acknowledged that their study offers fresh details to the mechanistic link between obesity and Alzheimer’s.

This is regarding the pathways that lead to the early progression of AD and the negative effects that the HFS diet has on the hippocampal and prefrontal cortex regions of the brain.

Obesity and Alzheimer’s Conclusion

After talking about the link between obesity and Alzheimer’s, it is important for people to manage their weight well especially during mid-life or better yet earlier to reap the benefits later in life.

A healthy diet and proper exercise are key to reducing the risk of a myriad of health problems including Alzheimer’s disease.

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