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Diabetes, High Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Disease Speed-Up Alzheimer's
By Daniel H. Rasolt
Posted: Monday, March 09, 2009
(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Diabetes and high cholesterol speed up the process of
cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients, a recent study has shown.
Cardiovascular disease was also linked to more rapid mental deterioration, but
only in individuals possessing a certain "apolipoprotein" that is sometimes
associated with Alzheimer's disease.
The results are part of a long-term
Alzheimer's focused study, in which 156 individuals have been followed for
upwards of 10 years. The nature of the study allowed researchers to both monitor
individuals before and after they developed Alzheimer's, allowing conclusions to
be made concerning potential developmental risk factors, as well as factors that
intensify the condition once developed. The entire study is called the
Washington Heights/Inwood Columbia Aging Project. Dr Yaakov Stern speaks of the
benefits of this type of study: "Through the Washington Heights/Inwood Columbia
Aging Project, we were able to follow patients before they began to show
symptoms of Alzheimer’s and for several years following their diagnosis. This
makes our estimates of progression much more powerful, since we were able to
know exactly when cognitive decline began."
It was found that diabetics,
and individuals with high LDL cholesterol levels, experienced significantly
faster cognitive deterioration once Alzheimer's had been developed. This was
also the case for individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) who
also harbored the apolipoprotein APOE-å4, but those with CVD and without APOE-å4
did not demonstrate this connection.
Supported by this current research,
as well as past studies that have linked diabetes, hypertension and CVD, to the
onset of Alzheimer's, Dr. Stern and his colleagues believe that increased
oxidative stress levels caused by these conditions, are responsible for the
onset and rapid progression of Alzheimer's. This oxidative stress can lead to
inflammation in the brain, which often triggers a neural mechanism thought to be
a primary cause of Alzheimer's. Dr. Stern indicates the difficult but best way
of helping delay or prevent the effects of Alzheimer's disease: "Preventing
heart disease, stroke and diabetes – or making sure these conditions are well
managed in patients diagnosed with them – can potentially slow the disease
progression of Alzheimer’s." Proper nutrition and exercise are known to be the
best ways to prevent and manage diabetes, high LDL levels, and
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Stern, Yaakov. Streich, Elizabeth. Columbia University Medical Center news release. March 2009.
Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.
Copyright © 2009 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
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