Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | cerebrovascular | disease | dementia | Alzheimers | vessels

Cerebrovascular Disease Linked to Alzheimer's

Cerebrovascular Disease Linked to Alzheimer's
(Copyright DPC)

Tuesday, 05 July 2016 04:24 PM


Strokes have long been known to raise the risk of dementia, but researchers are discovering that diseases of the large and small blood vessels in the brain contribute both to dementia and Alzheimer's significantly more than previously thought.

"Cerebral vessel pathology might be an under-recognized risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease dementia," researchers from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center wrote in the journal The Lancet Neurology.

The scientists analyzed medical and pathologic data on 1,143 older individuals who had donated their brains for research upon their deaths, including 478 (42 percent) with Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

Analyses of the brains showed that 445 (39 percent) of study participants had moderate to severe atherosclerosis — plaques in the larger arteries at the base of the brain obstructing blood flow — and 401 (35 percent) had brain arteriolosclerosis — in which there is stiffening or hardening of the smaller artery walls.

The study found that the worse the artery diseases, the higher the chance of having dementia, which is usually attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. The increase was 20 to 30 percent for each level of worsening severity.

The study also found that atherosclerosis and arteriolosclerosis are associated with lower levels of cognitive abilities, including memory and other thinking skills, and these links were present in persons with and without dementia.

"Both large and small vessel diseases have effects on dementia and thinking abilities, independently of one another, and independently of the common causes of dementia such as Alzheimer’s pathology and strokes," said study leader neurologist Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis.

The study suggests that vessel disease plays a role in dementia, said Arvanitakis. "We found that blood vessel diseases are very common in the brain, and are associated with dementia that is typically attributed to Alzheimer’s disease during life."

An accompanying editorial in the journal noted that while other studies have indicated that proactive measures like eating a selective diet and getting regular exercise might protect people against getting Alzheimer’s, those interventions might actually be acting on non-Alzheimer's disease processes, such as cerebrovascular disease.


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Strokes have long been known to raise the risk of dementia, but researchers are discovering that diseases of the large and small blood vessels in the brain contribute both to dementia and Alzheimer's significantly more than previously thought. Cerebral vessel pathology...
cerebrovascular, disease, dementia, Alzheimers, vessels
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2016-24-05
Tuesday, 05 July 2016 04:24 PM
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