Alzheimer Disease Medications: Progression to Nursing Home & Cardiac Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez

Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez

Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez, PharmD
Pharmacoeconomics, Outcomes and Pharmacoanalytics Research Fellow
Pharmacy and Therapeutics
School of Pharmacy
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Currently, there are 4 antidementia drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, including 3 acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs)—donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine—and the N-methyl-D-aspartic receptor antagonist memantine. On the one hand, evidence about the effect of these drugs at delaying nursing home admission is still sparse and conflicting. On the other, all these antidementia medications have been associated with several cardiovascular side effects, such as bradycardia, ventricular tachycardia, syncope, QT interval prolongation, atrioventricular block or even myocardial infarction.

In this study, we aimed to compare time to nursing home admission and time to cardiovascular side effects across all drug therapies available for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, we used 2006-2014 medical and pharmacy claims data from Medicare Part D beneficiaries with a new diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease who initiated antidementia drug therapy. Continue reading

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as Potential Therapy for Alzheimer’s Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Paul Harch MD Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine

Dr. Harch

Dr. Paul Harch MD
Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine
LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background is a 30 year clinical experience and investigation in which I explored the effects of low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on acute, subacute, and chronic neurological conditions.

Beginning with brain-injured Louisiana boxers and commercial divers in the late 1980s I attempted to see if patients with central nervous system disorders could respond to a lower dosing of the drug hyperbaric oxygen therapy than was traditionally used for other wound conditions like diabetic foot wounds, radiation wounds, and decompression sickness (the “bends”).  I was successful with the very first cases after which I expanded this treatment to nearly 90 neurological conditions.  The very first patient was a boxer 23 years after his last bout who was formally diagnosed with dementia pugulistica (dementia from boxing).

Since that time I have treated over 100 patients with cognitive decline or dementia, including 11 Alzheimer’s cases.  Nearly all of the Alzheimer’s and other dementia cases were documented with high-resolution brain blood flow imaging (SPECT).  The present case report was the first Alzheimer’s case that I was able to document with PET metabolic imaging.

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Blood Pressure Control – Good for Heart, Good for the Brain!

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Jeff Douglas Williamson

Dr. Williamson

Jeff D. Williamson, MD
Geriatric Medicine – Sticht Center
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: A growing amount of epidemiologic research has suggested that higher blood pressure is associated with higher risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s dementia.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: More than 9,300 ambulatory, community dwelling persons over age 50, 30% of whom were over the age of 75, were randomly assigned to a blood pressure goal of 120 vs 140.  Persons in the 120 group had a 19% lower risk for developing MCI an transitional stage between normal and dementia (P<.008).  There was a 17% lower risk for developing dementia but this only achieved a p value = 0.10.  The combined risk for both MCI and dementia was 15% lower in the 120 group (p<0.04).  The dementia outcome was the primary outcome but all the outcomes were pre-specified in the protocol at the beginning of the trial.  Unfortunately the blood pressure intervention was stopped after only 3.3 years due to CVD and mortality benefit and this may well have influenced the ability to reach the expected number of dementia cases. 

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NUEDEXTA® (Dextromethorphan and Quinidine) Studied for ALS and MS but Primarily Use in Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Fralick, MD, FRCPC, SM, PhD (Cand) Clinical Associate, General Internal Medicine, St Michael’s Hospital Phillipson Scholar, Clinician Scientist Program, University of Toronto  PhD Candidate, IHPME, University of Toronto Affiliated Faculty, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University

Dr. Fralick

Michael Fralick, MD, FRCPC, SM, PhD (Cand)
Clinical Associate, General Internal Medicine
St Michael’s Hospital
Phillipson Scholar, Clinician Scientist Program, University of Toronto
PhD Candidate, IHPME, University of Toronto
Affiliated Faculty, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This medication is a pill that combines two ingredients: dextromethorphan (the active ingredient in cough syrup) and quinidine (used to increase the concentration of dextromethorphan). The medication was primarily studied and evaluated in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)   or (multiple sclerosis) MS, but anecdotal evidence suggested it was being prescribed to patients with dementia. We used data from two nationwide healthcare databases to understand how the medication was being used in routine care.

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Coordinated Care Program For Dementia Patients Reduced Need For Nursing Home Placement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS Assistant Professor of Medicine Director, Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City, OK 73117

Dr. Jennings

Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director, Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative
Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City, OK 73117

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The research study focused on a novel model of care for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program. In the program, people with dementia and their caregivers meet with a nurse practitioner specializing in dementia care for a 90-minute in-person assessment and then receive a personalized dementia care plan that addresses the medical, mental health and social needs of both people. The nurse practitioners work collaboratively with the patient’s primary care provider and specialist physicians to implement the care plan, including adjustments as needs change over time.

The research was designed to evaluate the costs of administering the program, as well as the health care services used by program participants, including hospitalizations, emergency room visits, hospital readmissions and long-term nursing home placement. A total of 1,083 Medicare beneficiaries with dementia were enrolled in the program and were followed for three years. The study compared them to a similar group of patients living in the same ZIP codes who did not participate in the program. Continue reading

Newer MRIs May Predict Alzheimer’s Disease Before Any Symptoms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cyrus A. Raji, MD PhD Asst Prof of Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology Neuroradiology Faculty and the Neuoimaging Laboratories  Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis

Dr. Raji

Cyrus A. Raji, MD PhD
Asst Prof of Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
Neuroradiology Faculty and the Neuoimaging Laboratories
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and every patient suspected of having this disorder receives an MRI scan of the brain.

MRI scans of the brain in dementia are currently limited to evaluating for structural lesions that could be leading to memory loss such as stroke or tumor. What this study sought to accomplish was to determine if a newer type of MRI scan called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can predict who will experience cognitive decline and dementia. We found that DTI can predict persons who will demented 2.6 years before the earliest onset of symptoms.

This study was done in 61 individuals, 30 converters and 31 non-converters, from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and we found that DTI metrics could predict dementia 2.6 years later with 89-95% accuracy.

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Aggression in Dementia: Alternatives to Antipsychotics Also Have Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer Watt, PhD Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation University of Toronto

Dr. Watt

Jennifer Watt, PhD
Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research
Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (e.g. aggression, agitation) are common among persons living with dementia.

Pharmacological (e.g. antipsychotics) and non-pharmacological (e.g. reminiscence therapy) interventions are often used to alleviate these symptoms. However, antipsychotics are associated with significant harm among older adults with dementia (e.g. death, stroke). Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada issued black box warnings to advise patients and clinicians of this potential for harm. And initiatives were championed to decrease the use of antipsychotics in persons living with dementia.

In response, we have seen a rise in the use of other pharmacological interventions, such as trazodone (an antidepressant). Its potential to cause harm in older adults with dementia is largely unknown. Continue reading

Adults with Down’s Syndrome at High Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"A neonate with Down's?" by Sadasiv Swain is licensed under CC BY 2.0Rosalyn Hithersay

LonDowns
Kings College, London 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In our research group, we have been following a large group of adults with Down syndrome in the UK to track changes with ageing in their health and cognitive function. It has been known for some time now that people with Down syndrome are at high risk for developing dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. This new study has shown the huge impact that this risk has on mortality for these adults.

We found that dementia is now the likely underlying cause of death in more than 70% of adults with Down syndrome aged over 35 years. This is a much bigger proportion of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease compared to the general population: in England and Wales only 17.5% of deaths past the age of 65 would be related to dementia of any kind.  Continue reading

Age-Related Hearing Loss Linked to Dementia, Depression, Heart Attacks and Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Loughrey PhD Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health Global Brain Health Institute DeafHear Research Partner NEIL Programme Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience

Dr. Loughrey

David Loughrey PhD
Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health
Global Brain Health Institute
DeafHear Research Partner
NEIL Programme
Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The World Organisation (WHO) estimate that one-third of older adults aged 65 and over have a disabling hearing loss. Increasingly, research is finding that age-related hearing loss (ARHL) may be associated with other negative health outcomes, including dementia which currently affects 50 million people worldwide.

A study recently published in The Lancet reported that of nine possible modifiable risk factors, addressing age-related hearing loss (ARHL) could potentially lead to the largest reduction in the prevalence of dementia globally.

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Is Pregnancy a “Stress Test” for Future Dementia Risk?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Pregnancy 1" by operalynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0Heather Boyd, Ph.D.
Senior researcher
Department of Epidemiology Research
Copenhagen Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have known for a while that women who have had preeclampsia report different types of cognitive impairment (difficulties with short-term memory, attention deficits) in the years and decades after their pregnancies, and there are a few imaging studies suggesting that these women may have more white matter lesions in the brain and more signs of brain atrophy than women with uncomplicated pregnancies. We also know that women who have had preeclampsia are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the years and decades after delivery. Taken together, it was not a great leap to hypothesize that women with a history of preeclampsia might also be at increased risk of dementia later in life. However, the existing epidemiological data were unconvincing, possibly because it takes a great deal of power (a very large study population) to study links between two conditions that often occur decades apart.

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Aortic Stiffness is Associated with Increased Risk of Dementia in Older Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rachel H. Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Mackey

Rachel H. Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: “Hardening,” or stiffening, of the arteries is a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffness can be measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), because the pulse pressure wave travels faster in stiffer arteries. Stiffer arteries transmit increased pulsatile blood flow to the brain and are linked with markers of silent, or subclinical, brain disease, which are related to increased risk of dementia. However, it was not clear whether arterial stiffening would predict risk of dementia, especially in older adults, who often have existing subclinical brain disease. Therefore, a University of Pittsburgh team, led by Chendi Cui, M.S, doctoral student, and Rachel Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA, assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health, analyzed the association between arterial stiffness and 15-year risk of dementia among 356 older adults, with an average age of 78. Study participants were part of the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS‐CS), a long‐term study to identify dementia risk factors, led by coauthors Oscar Lopez MD and Lewis Kuller, MD, DrPH. In 1996-2000, study participants had had arterial stiffness measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), brain imaging by MRI, and had annual follow-up visits for cognitive status.

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Errors in Dementia Drugs Surprising Common in Parkinson’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Allison W. Willis, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Neurology Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Dr. Willis

Allison W. Willis, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute
Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study was motivated by my own experiences as a neurologist-neuroscientist.

I care for Parkinson disease patients, and over the year, have had numerous instances in which a person was taking a medication that could interact with their Parkinson disease medications, or could worsen their PD symptoms.
Continue reading

Cardiovascular Risk Factors Also Linked to Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cécilia Samieri, PhD Université de Bordeaux, INSERM Bordeaux Population Health Research Center Bordeaux, France

Dr. Samieri

Cécilia Samieri, PhD
Université de Bordeaux, INSERM
Bordeaux Population Health Research Center
Bordeaux, France

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research has demonstrated that heart diseases and brain diseases share common risk factors. Favorable health factors (optimal levels of BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol) and behaviors (non smoking, physical activity and diet at optimal levels), which are known to protect the heart, have also been associated with a lower risk of age-related brain diseases (eg, dementia) and lower rate of cognitive decline in some epidemiological studies. However, studies have been controversial and importantly, very limited research has considered risk factors simultaneously. This may be an explanation for the lack of established consensus for recommendations aimed at dementia prevention.

This study adds to previous knowledge by evaluating cardiovascular health factors and behaviors simultaneously in relation to cognitive decline and the risk of dementia in older age. We used the American Heart Association 7-item tool to promote primordial prevention, which aims to prevent the developement of risk factors in a first place as a prevention strategy against cardiovascular diseases.

We found that each additional favorable health factor/behavior was associated with a 10% lower risk to develop dementia in the following decade.

These findings support the promotion if cardiovascular health to prevent the development of risk factors associated with dementia.  

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: When considering cardiovascular health, each additional improvement of the level of one or several health factors/behaviors is associated with a lower risk opf dementia and less cognitive decline.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Evaluate the change in risk factors over time as well was possible differential weighting of the factors in relation to dementia risk. 

Citation:

Samieri C, Perier M, Gaye B, et al. Association of Cardiovascular Health Level in Older Age With Cognitive Decline and Incident Dementia. JAMA. 2018;320(7):657–664. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11499

Aug 21, 2018 @ 5:49 pm 

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Metabolic Risk Factors Leading Up to Onset of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Maude Wagner, PhD Student Biostatistics Team Lifelong Exposures, Health and Aging Team Bordeaux Population Health Research Center Inserm Univ. Bordeaux

Maude Wagner

Maude Wagner, PhD Student
Biostatistics Team
Lifelong Exposures, Health and Aging Team
Bordeaux Population Health Research Center
Inserm
Univ. Bordeaux

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Many studies haves shown associations between cardiometabolic health and dementia in midlife, but associations later in life remain inconclusive.

This study aimed to model concurrently and to compare the trajectories of major cardiometabolic risk factors in the 14 years before diagnosis among cases of dementia and controls.

This study showed that demented persons presented a BMI decline and lower blood pressure (specifically systolic blood pressure) several years before dementia diagnosis that might be a consequence of underlying disease. In contrast, cases presented consistently higher blood glucose levels up to 14 years before dementia suggesting that high glycemia is a strong risk factor for dementia.

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Could Treatment for Herpes Virus Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This photograph depicts a close-up of the lips of a patient with a herpes simplex lesion on the lower lip, due to the herpes simples virus-1 (HSV-1) CDC image

This photograph depicts a close-up of the lips of a patient with a herpes simplex lesion on the lower lip, due to the herpes simples virus-1 (HSV-1)
CDC image

Prof Ruth Itzhaki
Emeritus Professor
Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology
The University of Manchester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background arises from the unexpected discovery, made by my lab almost 30 years ago, that the DNA of the common virus, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), known as the “cold sore” virus, was present in a high proportion of autopsy brains from elderly humans. Subsequently, we found that HSV1, when in brain of people who have a specific genetic factor, APOE-e4, confers a strong risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. We found also a parallelism with cold sores in that APOE-e4 is a risk for the sores, which occur in about 25-40% of people infected with HSV1.

We then looked for links between the effects of HSV1 infection of cells in culture and AD, and found some major associations between virus and disease.

Firstly, HSV1 causes an increase in the formation of a small protein called beta amyloid, which is the main component of the abnormal “plaques” seen in Alzheimer’s Disease brains.

Secondly, we discovered that in AD brains, the viral DNA is located precisely within amyloid plaques, which suggests that the virus is responsible for the formation of these abnormal structures. Thirdly, we confirmed the finding of another lab that HSV1 causes the increased formation of an abnormal form of the protein known as tau, which is the main component of the other characteristic abnormality of Alzheimer’s Disease brains – “neurofibrillary tangles”.

All these discoveries suggested that the damage caused by HSV1 leads eventually to the development of AD.

Lastly, we showed that treating HSV1-infected cells in culture greatly reduces the formation of beta amyloid and abnormal tau. This suggests that antiviral agents might be used for treating Alzheimer’s Disease patients.

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Structural Brain Changes in Sleep Apnea Linked to Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Woman sleeping” by Timothy Krause is licensed under CC BY 2.0Nathan E. Cross PhD, first author
School of Psychology.
Sharon L. Naismith, PhD, senior author
Leonard P Ullman Chair in Psychology
Brain and Mind Centre
Neurosleep, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence
The University of Sydney, Australia 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Between 30 to 50% of the risk for dementia is due to modifiable risk factors such depression, hypertension, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and smoking.

In recent years, multiple longitudinal cohort studies have observed a link between sleep apnoea and a greater risk (1.85 to 2.6 times more likely) of developing cognitive decline and dementia.  Furthermore, one study in over 8000 people also indicated that the presence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in older adults was associated with an earlier age of cognitive decline, and that treatment of OSA may delay the onset of cognitive impairment.

This study reveals important insights into how sleep disorders such as OSA may impact the brain in older adults, as it is associated with widespread structural alterations in diverse brain regions. We found that reduced blood oxygen levels during sleep are related to reduced thickness of the brain’s cortex in both the left and right temporal areas – regions that are important in memory and are early sites of injury in Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, reduced thickness in these regions was associated with poorer ability to learn new information, thereby being the first to link this structural change to memory decline. Continue reading

Vision and Cognition Change Together As Older Adults Age

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Old Eyeglasses” by Leyram Odacrem is licensed under CC BY 2.0Diane Zheng MS
NEI F-31 Research Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in Epidemiology
Department of Public Health Sciences
University of Miami

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Worsening vision and declining cognitive function are common conditions among older people. Understanding the association between them could be beneficial to alleviate age related cognitive decline.

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Midlife Hypertension Increases Risk of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80 copyright American Heart Association

Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80
copyright American Heart Association

Professor Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD, HDR Epidemiology
Research Director (DR1), INSERM
Honorary Professor, University College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although there have been previous studies that have linked raised blood pressure in midlife to an increased risk of dementia in later life, the term ‘midlife’ has been poorly defined and ranged from 35 to 68 years.

New findings from the long-running Whitehall II study of over 10,000 civil servants has found 50-year-olds who had blood pressure that was higher than normal but still below the threshold commonly used when deciding to treat the condition, were at increased risk of developing dementia in later life.  Continue reading

Are Well-Off People Protected from Dementia?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Dorina Cadar
Research Associate in Dementia
Psychobiology Group
Department of Behavioural Science and Health
University College London
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Dementia is one of the most feared medical conditions, which represents a significant global challenge to health and social care.

Education may serve different roles in the development of dementia: it is a proxy for early life experiences and (parental) socioeconomic status, it is related to future employment prospects, income and wealth, determines occupational exposures and characteristics of adult life (e.g., job complexity, work stress, environmental exposures) and it provides lifelong skills for optimal mental abilities and mastery. However, given that education is typically completed many decades before dementia onset, other individual and area-based components of socioeconomic status, such as wealth, income and area deprivation may provide a more accurate indication of current socioeconomic resources.  Also, at older ages, accumulated wealth represents a more robust measure of socioeconomic resources than income or occupation alone.

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Does Exercise Slow Dementia?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Sarah E Lamb,  MSc, MA, MCSP, Grad Dip Statistics, DPhil Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Centre for Statistics in Medicine Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford

Prof. Lamb

Prof. Sarah E Lamb,  MSc, MA, MCSP, Grad Dip Statistics, DPhil
Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Centre for Statistics in Medicine
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences
Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Scientists and clinicians have considered the possibility that higher intensity aerobic and muscle strength training might have a beneficial effect in preventing dementia or slowing the progression of cognitive impairment in those who have dementia.

The hypothesis has come mostly from animal research.

The main findings of our research which used a large sample and high quality methods was that higher intensity exercise, whilst possible, did not slow cognitive impairment. Neither did it have an impact on the functional and behavioural outcomes for people with dementia. It was a substantial commitment for people to participate in the programmes, although many enjoyed the experience and their physical fitness improved.

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Amyloid PET Scan Can Predict Progression to Alzheimer’s in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David A. Wolk, MD Associate Professor Department of Neurology Co-Director, Penn Memory Center Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Wolk

David A. Wolk, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
Co-Director, Penn Memory Center
Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center
University of Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a state when individuals have mild memory problems, but not enough to impact day-to-day function.  Many patients with MCI are on the trajectory to developing Alzheimer’s Disease dementia, but about half will not and remain stable.  As such, patients with MCI are often uncertain about the likelihood they should expect to decline in the future which obviously may be associated with considerable anxiety and this may delay opportunities for them to plan for the future or begin therapeutic interventions.

This study examined the degree to which amyloid PET, which detects the amyloid pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease, a measure of shrinkage of the hippocampus with MRI, and cognitive measures predicted development of dementia over 3 years.  We found that each of these measures enhances prediction of whether an individual will or will not develop dementia in the future.  If all of these measures are positive, one has a very high risk of progression whereas if amyloid PET and the MRI measurement are normal, there is very little risk of progression. Continue reading

Vets with Head Injury More Likely To Develop Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, MPH Professor, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology & Biostatistics University of California, San Francisco: http://profiles.ucsf.edu/deborah.barnes Research Health Sciences Specialist, San Francisco VA Medical Center Senior Investigator, Tideswell at UCSF: http://www.tideswellucsf.org/ Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, MPH

Professor, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology & Biostatistics
University of California, San Francisco: http://profiles.ucsf.edu/deborah.barnes
Research Health Sciences Specialist
San Francisco VA Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • Previous studies have found a link between moderate to severe head injuries and increased dementia risk.
  • The association between mild head injuries and dementia – especially mild head injury that doesn’t result in loss of consciousness – is less well established
  • We examined the association between mild head injuries with and without loss of consciousness and dementia diagnoses in nearly 360,000 Veterans receiving care in the VA health care system.
  • We found that Veterans with a head injury diagnoses were two to four times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those without head injury diagnoses.
  • The risk of dementia diagnosis was doubled in Veterans who experienced head injury without loss of consciousness compared to those with no head injury. 

Continue reading

Some Depression and Overactive Bladder Drugs Linked to Dementia

Medicalresearch.com Interview with:

Professor Phyo Kyaw Myint Chair in Old Age Medicine University of Aberdeen

Prof. Myint

Professor Phyo Kyaw Myint
Chair in Old Age Medicine
University of Aberdeen

Medicalresearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We have previously studied the potential harmful effects of a group of medications called anticholinergics. They can have side effects on central as well peripheral systems. The link between use of these drugs and dementia is less well understood due to limitations of previous studies.

We used large GP practices data from the UK with long term follow up and examined this association using robust statistical methods.

Medicalresearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Key findings are:

  • Drugs with anticholinergic properties which are used to treat depression, urological conditions (e.g. for overactive bladder) and Parkinsonism are linked to development of dementia.
  • Drugs with similar properties which are used to treat gut disorders and heart conditions are not found to be linked to dementia
  • Drugs with low level of anticholinergic effect are not linked to dementia

Medicalresearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Clinicians should use the drugs with high level of anticholinergic burden cautiously. Also attempts should be made whenever appropriate to reduce or replace with similar drugs but without such properties.

Medicalresearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We need to ensure confounding effects are minimised by conducting carefully designed prospective studies. Further clinical trial evidence of benefit of deprescribing of these medications (when possible) in at risk populations is also urgently warranted.

Medicalresearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: In the absence of trial evidence, this study provides best available evidence using robust statistical methods in the largest study of its kind and will help clinicians in making treatment choices for the benefit of the patients.

Citation:

Anticholinergic drugs and risk of dementia: case-control study

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1315 (Published 25 April 2018)Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1315

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

Genetic Overlap Between Some Types of ALS and and Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Celeste Karch, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Molecular mechanisms underlying tauopathies Washington University School of Medicine St Louis

Dr. Karch

Celeste Karch, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Molecular mechanisms underlying tauopathies
Washington University School of Medicine
St Louis

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nearly half of all patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neuromuscular disorder, develop cognitive problems that affect memory and thinking. Why a disease that primarily affects movement also disrupts thinking has been unclear.

Our findings suggest that genetic connections between the two disorders may explain why they share some of the same features and suggest that some drugs developed to treat ALS also may work against frontotemporal dementia and vice versa. We used a statistical method in almost 125,000 individuals with ALS, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease to determine whether there are common genetic variants that increase risk for multiple neurodegenerative diseases.

We found that common variants near the MAPT gene, which makes the tau protein, increases risk for ALS. MAPT has previously had been associated with diseases including frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But the gene hadn’t been linked to ALS. We also identified variations in a second gene, BNIP1, which normally plays an important role in protecting against cell death, increased the risk of both ALS and frontotemporal dementia. ImportantlyBNIP1 mRNA levels were altered in people who had ALS and in patients with frontotemporal dementia, suggesting the BNIP1 may be a potential therapeutic target for both disorders.

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What is the Biggest Modifiable Risk Factor For Dementia? Alcohol

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“undefined” by Iñaki Queralt is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michaël Schwarzinger, MD, PhD

Translational Health Economics Network (THEN)
Paris

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The association of heavy drinking with dementia has been known for decades. For instance, there is about no Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome without heavy drinking and the syndrome was described in 1890. But this type of dementia is very rare. Also, heavy drinking is knowingly associated with multiple risk factors for dementia onset such as hypertension or diabetes. But heavy drinkers generally refuse to participate to cohort studies and declaration of alcohol use among participants is generally biased downward… So the study rationale is very strong, but supporting empirical evidence is quite scarce.

This nationwide study included all 31+ million adults discharged from hospitals over 6 years, i.e., 50% of the French population before 65 years old and 80% above that age. Of 1.1+ million adults diagnosed with dementia, one in twenty had an early-onset (before 65 years old). Heavy drinking was recorded in most (56%) early-onset dementia cases: two-third in men; one-third in women. In addition, the association of heavy drinking with dementia goes far beyond 65 years old, both directly (>3 times higher risk for dementia onset after controlling for more than 30 known risk factors for dementia) and indirectly as heavy drinking was associated with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset. Accordingly, heavy drinking had the largest effect on dementia risk of all independent modifiable risk factors such as hypertension or diabetes.

The effects were found whatever dementia case definition or population studies.

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