A large-scale analysis of medical records for nearly two million British people over up to two decades, by Oxon Epidemiology and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has discovered surprising relationships between obesity / body mass index (BMI) and dementia risk.
The evidence indicates that underweight people are most at risk of developing dementia. Underweight people have a 39% higher risk of dementia than people with what is considered to be a healthy weight. People who are overweight, by contrast, appear to benefit from an 18% reduction in dementia risk, and this seemingly rises to 24% for those considered obese.
Reference: Qizilbash, N. Gregson, J. Johnson, ME. [et al] (2015). BMI and risk of dementia in two million people over two decades: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. April 9th 2015.
Middle-age spread ‘seems to reduce dementia risk’. NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, April 10th 2015.
Being overweight ‘reduces dementia risk’. BBC Health News, April 10th 2015.
Research into pain in 230 people with dementia at two hospitals, conducted by University College London, indicates that the occurrence of pain experienced in hospitals may be significantly under-reported. This observational study found around two-thirds (57%) of people with dementia experience pain, but less than 40% are able to report it.
The same researchers found an association between pain and the expression of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), such as aggression, agitation and anxiety. BPSD can reflect undetected or under-managed pain, and behaviours perceived as “difficult” can – in turn – contribute to a cycle of poor care in stressful and busy hospital environments.
Reference: Sampson, EL. White, N. [and] Lord, K. [et al] (2015). Pain, agitation, and behavioural problems in people with dementia admitted to general hospital wards: a longitudinal cohort study. PAIN. April 2015, Vol.156(4), pp.675–683.
It is widely believed that physical activity supports healthy ageing and helps to prevent cognitive decline, perhaps as a result of improving cardio-respiratory fitness. This systematic review examined the evidence concerning any beneficial influence(s) of aerobic exercise in improving cognitive functioning in older people without cognitive impairment. Twelve trials including 754 participants were considered. There was no discernible benefit from aerobic exercise in any domain of cognitive performance in cognitively healthy older adults, even when the intervention(s) did improve cardio-respiratory fitness.
Young, J. Angevaren, M. [and] Rusted, J. [et al] (2015). Aerobic exercise to improve cognitive function in older people without known cognitive impairment. The Cochrane database of Systematic Reviews. April 22nd 2015
World Health Organisation (WHO) member states have agreed to support a formal Call for Action setting out the intent to tackle dementia on an international scale and provide global leadership. The Call for Action was adopted by most of the countries that attended the First WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia.
The countries agreed overarching principles and approaches that will be needed in promoting global action against dementia, and have called for a series of actions. More about the Call for Action on the WHO site
Shop-owners in the Belgian city make their customers with dementia feel welcome. What can UK towns and cities learn from its approach, embraced by businesses, communities and council?
via Is Bruges the most dementia-friendly city? | Society | The Guardian.
Trial begins to investigate diabetes drug’s potential for Alzheimer’s disease
It has been reported today that a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes is to be tested in a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease. The drug, liraglutide, is to be evaluated in a phase 2 trial of people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s at centres across the UK.
via Trial begins to investigate diabetes drug’s potential for Alzheimer’s disease | Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Eight nutrients to protect the aging brain
Brain health is the second most important component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle according to a 2014 AARP study. As people age they can experience a range of cognitive issues from decreased critical thinking to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers write about eight nutrients that may help keep your brain in good shape.
via Eight nutrients to protect the aging brain — ScienceDaily.
New potential cause for Alzheimer’s: Arginine deprivation caused by overconsumption by immune cells
A new study suggests that in Alzheimer’s disease, certain immune cells in the brain abnormally consume an important nutrient: arginine. Blocking this process with a small-molecule drug prevented the characteristic brain plaques and memory loss in a mouse model of the disease. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the research not only points to a new potential cause of Alzheimer’s but also may eventually lead to a new treatment strategy.
via New potential cause for Alzheimer’s: Arginine deprivation caused by overconsumption by immune cells — ScienceDaily.
Link between relationships and health is ignored in the NHS, finds Relate
The charity Relate is today (Tuesday 24th March) calling for relationships to be put at the heart of the NHS to improve health and wellbeing and reduce pressure on the public purse.
A report by the charity and think tank, New Philanthropy Capital, finds that the link between relationships and health is too often ignored in the NHS. Relate is calling for good quality relationships with families, partners and friends to be put at the heart of the health service. They argue that this will improve health and wellbeing for the 15 million people in the UK living with long-term physical or mental health conditions.
via Link between relationships and health is ignored in the NHS, finds Relate – Alzheimer’s Society.
Demanding jobs may increase survival in those with fronto-temporal dementia, new research suggests
People with more demanding jobs may live longer after developing fronto-temporal dementia than people with less skilled jobs, according to a new study published in Neurology today (22 April 2015).
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University reviewed the medical charts of 83 people who had an autopsy after death, 34 of whom had fronto-temporal dementia
. Occupations were ranked by US census categories from manual jobs such as factory workers to professional and technical jobs such as lawyers and engineers.
The 34 people with fronto-temporal dementia had an average survival time of about seven years. The people with more challenging jobs were more likely to have longer survival times than those with less challenging jobs
via Demanding jobs may increase survival in those with fronto-temporal dementia, new research suggests – Alzheimer’s Society.