About 30% of Alzheimer's Disease Cases May Be Prevented Through Lifestyle Modifications (1)
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disease (AD) is a complex disease that begins decades before cognitive symptoms
appear. The cause of this disease
remains unknown however recent studies have provided some clarity on the early
stage biology. The complexity of the late-stage disease state has hindered the
development of an effective therapeutic intervention and increased attention has
turned to prevention.
Specific Recent Studies
Benefits of a
good quality sleep may include protection against age-related cognitive
declines (4). For Alzheimer’s disease this is a developing
area of research to identify at risk populations and underlying biological
mechanisms. A recent report shows an association between sleep-disordered
breathing and Alzheimer’s disease-biomarkers in humans (5).
This follows the identification of perturbations in the sleep-wake cycle
giving rise to significant changes in Aβ dynamics in mice (6). In a seminal paper by Dr. Maiken Nedergaard from the University of
Rochester, she hypothesizes that the restorative aspect of sleep is a
consequence of an enhanced rate of removal of neurotoxic waste products that
accumulate in the awake central nervous system (7). The linkage between Aβ deposition in the brain and poor sleep continues to be established, however the key question remains whether poor sleep contributes to Alzheimer's onset or if disrupted sleep is an early symptom of this disease.
Surgery and the Elderly
Effects from major surgery and the use
of anesthesia on brain pathology and cognition is a controversial yet
developing area. The elderly are more
likely to present with a loss in cognitive abilities shortly after surgery. In addition, some patients report that their
first Alzheimer’s disease symptoms correspond to a surgical procedure. Dr. Roderic Eckenhoff from the University of
Pennsylvania, has presented data supporting the hypothesis that the surgery
itself, and not the anesthesia, may negatively impact a dementia-vulnerable
brain (8). Furthermore, the negative impact on the
brain by a peripheral inflammatory process, that may be induced by surgery, is
consistent with recent studies supporting inflammation having a central and potentially causal role in
AD pathogenesis and that the peripheral immune system may directly contribute to the AD process.
S. at al, Lancet Neurol 2014; 13: 788-94.
(3) Alz Assoc: http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_prevention_and_risk.asp
(4) Scullin, M. K. and Bliwise,
D. L., Perspect Psychol Sci 2015; 10(1): 97-137.
R. S. et al, Neurobio of Aging 2014; 35: 1318-1324.
(6) Jae-Eun, K. et al, Science 2009; 326: 1005-1007.
(7) Xie, L.
et al, Science 2013; 342: 373-377.