Sunday July 22, 2018

Antidepressants are linked to high risk of dementia: Study

For the study, published in the journal BMJ, an international team from the US, UK and Ireland analysed more than 27 million prescriptions as recorded in the medical records of 40,770 patients over age 65 diagnosed with dementia compared to the records of 283,933 older adults without dementia.

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If you are used to taking commonly prescribed antidepressants, think twice. According to a study, you may be at high risk of developing dementia, even 20 years before the actual diagnosis, a study has warned.

The researchers found greater incidence of dementia among patients prescribed anticholinergic antidepressants, anticholinergic bladder medications as well as anticholinergic Parkinson’s disease medications than among older adults who were not prescribed these drugs.

“Anticholinergics, medications that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have previously been implicated as a potential cause of cognitive impairment,” said Noll Campbell, assistant professor at the Purdue University in Indiana.

However, the researchers are yet not aware of "exactly how anticholinergics might cause dementia", the researchers said.
Representational Image- dementia, Pixabay

However, the researchers are yet not aware of “exactly how anticholinergics might cause dementia”, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the journal BMJ, an international team from the US, UK and Ireland analysed more than 27 million prescriptions as recorded in the medical records of 40,770 patients over age 65 diagnosed with dementia compared to the records of 283,933 older adults without dementia.

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“The findings make it clear that clinicians need to carefully consider the anticholinergic burden of their patients and weigh other options,” said Malaz Boustani, from the US-based Regenstrief Institute.

“Physicians should review all the anticholinergic medications – including over-the-counter drugs – that patients of all ages are taking and determine safe ways to take individuals off anticholinergic medications in the interest of preserving brain health,” Boustani said. (IANS)

 

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Scientists Develop Potential Approach to Treat Dementia, Stroke

"It also shows that these changes may be reversible, paving the way for potential treatments," Williams added

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The article provides information on the topic "Scientists Develop Potential Approach to Treat Dementia, Stroke". (IANS)

Stopping blood vessel cells from becoming dysfunctional may reverse the symptoms of small vessel disease (SVD) — major cause of dementia and stroke — and prevent brain damage in older adults, scientists have found.

The study, led by the University of Edinburgh, found that SVD occurs when cells that line the small blood vessels in the brain become dysfunctional causing them to secrete a molecule into the brain.

The molecule stops production of the protective layer that surrounds brain cells — called myelin — leading to brain damage.

“This important research helps us understand why small vessel disease happens, providing a direct link between small blood vessels and changes in the brain that are linked to dementia,” said Anna Williams from University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Scotland.

“It also shows that these changes may be reversible, paving the way for potential treatments,” Williams added.

1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay
1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay

In the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team used rat model and found that treating them with drugs that can reverse changes in blood vessels in the brain associated with cerebral small vessel disease.

“The findings highlight a promising direction for research into treatments that could limit the damaging effects of blood vessel changes and help keep nerve cells functioning for longer,” said Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research in Britain.

Also Read: Sleep Disorder Linked with Brain Changes Found in Dementia

However, further studies are needed to test whether the treatment also works when the disease is firmly established, researchers said.

Dementia is one of the biggest problems facing society, as people live longer and the population ages.

Estimates indicate there are almost 47 million people living with dementia worldwide and the numbers affected are expected to double every 20 years, rising to more than 115 million by 2050. (IANS)

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