New Harvard Study - Could Drugs cause Dementia?
I found this very interesting new Harvard Study. According to the study: "Researchers collected detailed information from more than 300,000 adults ages 65 and older, and compared medication use among those diagnosed with dementia with those who were not. Those who had taken any medication with anticholinergic activity were 11% more likely to be eventually diagnosed with dementia; for those drugs with the most anticholinergic effects, the risk of dementia was 30% greater."
That's rather significant. However, the study states that: "… These findings are intriguing but they aren't definitive, and they don't mean you should stop taking a medication because you're concerned about developing dementia."
Nonetheless, the study mentions that: "…there is reason to be concerned about the possibility that anticholinergic drugs contribute to the risk of dementia. Acetylcholine is involved in memory and learning, and past research has demonstrated lower levels of acetylcholine in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease (the most common cause of dementia in the elderly). In addition, animal studies suggest that anticholinergic drugs may contribute to brain inflammation, a potential contributor to dementia."
Side note on "anticholinergic": An anticholinergic agent is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system. These agents inhibit parasympathetic nerve impulses by selectively blocking the binding of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to its receptor in nerve cells.
So what can you do? According to the Harvard researchers and DannyTheCoach does approve these actions, "You may be able to reduce your risk of dementia by not smoking, getting regular exercise, and sticking to a healthy diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids.
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Full Harvard Study - click here.