Dementia Risk From Things You Do


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — There are more than 55 million people around the world living with dementia and ten million more new cases are diagnosed every year. Studies show regular exercise and what you eat can affect your dementia risk, but what about other lesser known factors? Ivanhoe reports about some surprising risks factors you need to know.

You fought through COVID, but especially if you are 65 years or older, the disease might have caused some lingering effects. A study from the University of Missouri found patients who developed COVID-19 pneumonia had a higher risk of developing dementia. Another study from Case Western Reserve University found people 65 and older who got COVID were about 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s within a year of their infection. But COVID is not the only surprising risk factor.

“Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients here in the US are women.” Explains Sepi Shokouhi, PhD Assistant Professor, formerly with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Studies show the reason for women being more likely to get dementia than men is not solely due to the fact that women live longer. Researchers found abnormal protein linked to dementia was more widespread in women’s brains.

Shokouhi says, “I can predict that sex will be more strongly integrated in future precision medicine in Alzheimer’s disease.”

And the medications you take can increase your risk. Taking an anticholinergic, such as Benadryl and Clozapine, for three years or more was associated with a 54 percent higher dementia risk. Giving you insights into some surprising risk factors.

Some good news. Just walking can lower your risk for dementia. Researchers found that walking four thousand steps a day lowers your dementia risk by 25 percent, while reaching 10 thousand steps a day lowers it by 50 percent.

Contributors to this news report include: Millvione Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #3031

BACKGROUND: Dementia is a term used to describe a range of neurological conditions affecting the brain that get worse over time. It is the loss of the ability to think, remember, and reason that affect daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions and other behaviors, and their personality may change. Dementia was thought to be a normal part of aging, likely because it is more common as people age. As many as half of all people aged 85 or older may have dementia. However, it is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is the result of changes in certain brain areas that cause nerve cells (also known as neurons) and their connections to stop working properly. Researchers have connected changes in the brain to certain forms of dementia, but, in most cases, the underlying causes are unknown.


COVID AND DEMENTIA: The scientific community is concerned that COVID infection may accelerate cognitive decline in older adults, resulting in a wave of dementia cases in the coming years. A new $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Aging is letting researchers better understand how the virus triggers damage in the brain and the long-term impact on cognitive performance. Reports have highlighted the presence of cognitive and psychiatric symptoms associated with COVID infection, particularly in older adults who experienced moderate to severe infection. Other studies suggest that the COVID virus can damage the endothelial cells that line blood vessels through both direct infection and the resulting immune response. The new study will recruit 300 volunteers 65 and older who had a severe enough COVID infection that it required hospitalization, excluding individuals who required intensive care and had to be placed on a ventilator. “We need to better understand the burden and progression of cognitive decline and the mechanisms by which this occurs.  This will help point the way to new interventions designed to forestall the onset of dementia in these individuals,” said University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) neurologist Giovanni Schifitto M.D.


NEW RESEARCH ON VITAMIN D AND ALZHEIMER’S: According to new research, vitamin D pills may fight off Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Sarah Booth, corresponding author of the research, said, “This research reinforces the importance of studying how food and nutrients create resilience to protect the aging brain against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.” The number of cases worldwide will triple to more than 150 million by 2050. With no cure in sight, there is an increasing focus on preventive measures. The research examined post-mortem samples of brain tissue from 209 participants in the Rush Memory and Ageing Project that began in 1997. The team at Tufts University in Massachusetts found that vitamin D in all four regions of the brain examined, correlated with better mental skills. Two areas are associated with changes linked to Alzheimer’s, one with dementias due to blood flow and the other without any associations with brain or vascular diseases.


* For More Information, Contact:                        

Craig Boerner

Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: