Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States overall and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. It is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression. Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases, including the number one cause of death (heart disease), decreased.
One in three older adults has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia at the time of death. As the nation’s population ages, the number of people with the progressive neurological disorder could triple in the next 40 years, said a study published online Feb. 6 in Neurology.
The report can be either read online or downloaded.
People who had a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets tended to have lower plasma levels of beta-amyloid proteins, possibly reducing their risk of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers said.
In a cross-sectional study of more than 1,200 cognitively normal individuals older than 65, omega-3 fatty acid intake was significantly predictive of plasma levels of the 40- and 42-residue forms of beta-amyloid protein (AB40 and AB42, respectively), according to Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD, of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues.
In one trial, British researchers tied low levels of vitamin D to higher odds of developing dementia, while a Dutch study found that people with diets rich in vitamin E had a lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Finally, a study released by Finnish researchers linked high blood levels of vitamin D to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Perhaps a new component of the senior questionnaire?
Having a big head may help protect against the worst ravages of dementia, say researchers.
They found that people with Alzheimer’s with the largest craniums had better memory and thinking skills than patients with smaller skulls.
The Munich University team believe a larger head means there are greater brain reserves to buffer against dementia-related brain cell death.
Their findings, based on 270 patients, are published in the journal Neurology.