Thursday February 21, 2019

Study: Gout May Increase Dementia Risk in Elderly

Gout -- a very common condition -- is caused by deposits of crystals of a substance called uric acid (also known as urate) in the joints, which leads to inflammation

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dementia
The researchers believe that this type of low intensity sound therapy may benefit humans. (IANS)

Elderly people suffering from gout may have 17-20 per cent higher risk of dementia, suggests a new study by a team that includes an Indian-origin researcher.

Gout — a very common condition — is caused by deposits of crystals of a substance called uric acid (also known as urate) in the joints, which leads to inflammation.

Periods of time when patients are experiencing gout symptoms are called flares. Flares can be unpredictable and debilitating, developing over a few hours and causing severe pain in the joints.

“Our study found a considerable increased risk of dementia associated with gout in the elderly,” said co-author Jasvinder Singh, a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in the US.

For the study, presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2018), the researchers included 1.23 million Medicare beneficiaries, of which 65,325 had incident dementia.

Dementia Risk to 50-year-olds With Raised Blood Pressure
Dementia Risk to 50-year-olds raises with Blood Pressure . Pixabay

In an analysis which was adjusted for various potential confounding variables including demographics, comorbidities and commonly used medications, the results showed that gout is independently associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia.

The association was larger in older age groups, females, black race, and people with higher medical comorbidity.

Subgroup analyses indicated that gout was associated with a significant 20-57 per cent increase in dementia in patients without key comorbidities; coronary artery disease (CAD), hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or hypertension.

Also Read: Study: Dementia Risk to 50-year-olds With Raised Blood Pressure

However, this was not the case in patients with each of these comorbidities, except in patients with CAD, the researchers said.

Guidelines for the treatment of gout recommend lowering uric acid levels, although maintaining too low levels is a concern because uric acid is thought to protect the brain, they added.

“Further study is needed to explore these relationships and understand the pathogenic pathways involved in this increased risk,” Singh noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Alzheimer’s Linked To Improper Sleep In Elderly: Study

Staying awake for prolonged periods causes tau levels to rise.

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alzheimer's, cholesterol
One hemisphere of a healthy brain (L) is pictured next to one hemisphere of a brain of a person suffering from Alzheimer disease. VOA

Poor sleep among older adults has been associated with Alzheimer’s, suggesting that good sleep habits may help preserve brain health, finds a new study.

Studying mice and people, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found that sleep deprivation increases levels of the key Alzheimer’s protein, tau.

And, in follow-up studies on mice, the team has shown that sleeplessness accelerates the spread of toxic clumps of tau, a harbinger of brain damage and decisive step along the path to dementia through the brain.

These study indicated that lack of sleep alone helps drive the disease.

alzheimer's, cholesterol
Poor sleep can predict Alzheimer’s Risk in elderly. Pixabay

Tau is normally found in the brain — even in healthy people — but under certain conditions it can clump together into tangles that injure nearby tissue and presage cognitive decline.

“The interesting thing about this study is that it suggests that real-life factors such as sleep might affect how fast the disease spreads through the brain,” said the researchers, including David Holtzman, MD from the varsity.

This study shows that sleep disruption causes the damaging protein tau to increase rapidly and to spread over time, Holtzman added.

To find out whether lack of sleep was directly forcing tau levels upward, the team measured tau levels in mice and people with normal and disrupted sleep.

Cognitive Impairment
Alzheimer’s disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer’s. VOA

Findings, published in the journal Science, showed that tau levels in the fluid surrounding brain cells were about twice as high at night, when the animals were more awake and active, than during the day, when the mice dozed more frequently.

Similarly, disturbing the mice’s rest during the day caused daytime tau levels to double.

Much the same effect was seen in people indicating that a sleepless night caused tau levels to rise by about 50 per cent, the researchers discovered.

Furthermore, staying up all night enables people sleep more the next chance they get in addition to being stressed and cranky.

Also Read: Professor Offers Students Higher Grade For More Sleep

The mice too, rebounded from a sleepless day by sleeping more later.

Hence, staying awake for prolonged periods causes tau levels to rise. Altogether, tau is routinely released during waking hours by the normal business of thinking and doing, and then this release is decreased during sleep allowing tau to be cleared away, the findings suggested.  (IANS)