The list of things with possible links to dementia is long and continues to grow. Most links are determined through research and trials conducted over the years. However, it is important to understand that links don’t necessarily cause dementia but may only increase the likelihood of a person acquiring a condition. For dementia, there are several known facts that we in the dementia community have come to accept. Most of us have accepted that factors like age, alcohol, brain damage, depression, genetics, trauma are all linked to Dementia. But in recent times, I’m assuming, mainly due to increase research, more and more things are reported to have possible links to dementia. Below is a list of some things that researchers are looking at as having possible links to dementia:
Back in 2015, a Washington Post article cited a study conducted by the Northern California Institute for research and education in San Francisco which suggested that there may be a link between excessive TV time and dementia. The study showed that individuals watching four or more hours a day of TV scored significantly lower marks on tests measuring cognitive performance in middle age
A more recent study, cited by the New York Post in a Feb 28, 2019 edition, conducted by a team from University College London produced similar results
The Alzheimer’s Association says Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is characterized by re-experiencing stressful memories while sleeping or awake, that elicits a physiological stress response and causes emotional distress.
Preliminary results of a study conducted at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University raises the chance of a possible link between PTSD and dementia. The study was conducted with some 9/11 responders. The finding suggests that PTSD may be associated with alterations in plasma markers related to amyloid-beta, which raises the possibility of a link between PTSD and neurodegeneration.
Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons, including the death of neurons
According to the WebMD, scientists have found that a person’s chances for mental decline seem to go up as the hearing problems worsen. Researchers still do not know for sure how the two conditions are connected. The three working theories are:
Frank Lin, MD, Ph.D., of John Hopkins University believes the above mentioned are all involved
Researchers believe that the herpes simplex type 1 virus that causes cold sores may increase the likelihood of acquiring Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia. Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York believes the Herpes virus remains dormant in the body for years but when it combines with a specific gene that has a variant known as ApoE4 it increases the vulnerability of the brain cells to infections. Scientists suspect that the combination of the two promotes neuronal death such as what occurs in Alzheimer’s Disease.
According to an article written by the Fisher Center For Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore found that sleeping poorly was linked to an increase in brain levels of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein that builds up and forms plaques in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer’s. Using brain scans, researchers found that those who said they got under five hours a night had higher levels of beta-amyloid in the brain than those who slept over seven hours a night.
High blood sugar, yes, the same high blood sugar that is linked to diabetes, is also linked to Dementia. These latest findings come with a twist; researchers are discovering that individuals with blood sugar readings well below the range considered to be a sign of diabetes are also at risk. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Group Health Research Institute are finding that blood sugars above 115mg/dl are at an increased risk for dementia
Researchers from the University of London, Imperial College, and Kings College London thinks exposure to excessively high levels of nitrogen dioxide, over a prolonged period, increases the risk of acquiring Dementia. The study conducted by the university revealed that people living in an area that had a high concentration of nitrogen dioxide were 40% more likely to develop dementia than those in areas with the lowest levels.
Other studies suggest that smog and other air pollutants may contribute to memory loss and dementia.
Indiana University School of Medicine researchers, using MRI and PET scan imaging was able to show how people taking anticholinergic drugs experienced lower brain metabolism, higher brain atrophy, and scored lower on memory tests. According to an article published April 20, 2016, on draxe.com, the University of Washington scientists also discovered that long term use of certain anticholinergic, sleep aids, and hay fever meds could increase an individual’s chances of developing dementia.
Southwest Portland Dental wrote, “According to researchers at the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry, poor oral health and gum disease could have a linked to dementia.” Researchers are discovering bacteria, associated with gum disease, in the brain
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh believe that higher levels of aluminum and fluoride in drinking water are related to the onset of dementia. Aluminum sulfate may be used to trap impurities in water. Calcium fluoride occurs naturally in the body. Some scientists believe that fluoride increases the absorption of aluminum in the body.
Cold, F., Health, E., Disease, H., Disease, L., Management, P., & Conditions, S. (2019). Hearing Loss and Dementia: What’s the Link?. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/hearing-loss-dementia#1
Herpes simplex virus linked to dementia – Clinical Advisor. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/home/news/herpes-simplex-virus-linked-to-dementia/
Poor Sleep May Be Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/poor-sleep-may-be-linked-to-alzheimers-disease/
High Blood Sugar Is Linked to Dementia. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/high-blood-sugar-linked-dementia-2/
Air pollution ‘linked to dementia’. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-45572821
Air Pollution May Raise Dementia Risk. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/air-pollution-raise-dementia-risk/
Popular Allergy Pills Linked to Dementia, Researchers Say. (2019). Retrieved from https://draxe.com/drugs-linked-to-dementia/
Dementia May Have Links to Poor Oral Health. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.southwestportlanddental.com/dementia-may-links-poor-oral-health/Content goes here.
Aluminium in drinking water linked to Alzheimer’s, study of 7,000 Scots finds. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.scotsman.com/news/aluminium-in-drinking-water-linked-to-alzheimer-s-study-of-7-000-scots-finds-1-4894676