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Do Statins cause dementia?

Do Statins cause dementia? | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

Adults with no history of cognitive dysfunction treated with statins were included from high-quality randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies after formal bias assessment. Sixteen studies were included in qualitative & 11 in quantitative synthesis.

Short-term trials did not show a consistent effect of statin therapy on cognitive end points. Long-term cognition studies included 23,443 patients with a mean exposure duration of 3 to 24.9 years. Three studies found no association between statin use and incident dementia, and 5 found a favorable effect. Pooled results revealed a 29% reduction in incident dementia in statin-treated patients.

Conclusion In patients without baseline cognitive dysfunction, short-term data are most compatible with no adverse effect of statins on cognition, and long-term data may support a beneficial role for statins in the prevention of dementia.
Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

Patients are understandably concerned that a medicine might cause problems with their ability to think and function as they age.  For proponents  (like me) of statin type cholesterol lowering medicines the long-term benefit of improved vascular health provided by statins is compelling.  The theoretical benefit on long term brain health from improved vascular health is also interesting but conflicts with some reports taht memory might be effected by statin use.  The authors from Johns Hopkins have provided a useful review of the literature and concluded that statins are neutral to positive for long term brain health and function, and may "support a beneficial role for statins in the prevention of dementia".

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Mediterranean Diet Might Help Stave Off Dementia

Mediterranean Diet Might Help Stave Off Dementia | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

 Eating fish, chicken, olive oil and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids while staying away from meats and dairy -- the so-called Mediterranean diet -- may help older adults keep their memory and thinking skills sharp, a large new U.S. study suggests.

Using data from participants enrolled in a nationwide study on stroke, the researchers gleaned diet information from more than 17,000 white and black men and women whose average age was 64.

The participants also took tests that measured their memory and thinking (cognitive) skills. During the four years of the study, 7 percent of the individuals developed problems with these skills, the researchers reported.

"Greater adherence to Mediterranean diet was associated with lower risk of incident cognitive impairment in this large population-based study," said lead researcher Dr. Georgios Tsivgoulis, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as well as the University of Athens, in Greece.

Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

This makes reasonable biological sense since brain and cognitive health is so dependent on vascular health.  Strategies that improve vascular health and function of many years will reduce the likelihood of declining mental function.

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Ellen Diane's comment, May 8, 2013 5:33 AM
I am a follower- have been for years.
Ellen Diane's curator insight, May 8, 2013 5:34 AM

been a follower for years

Ellen Diane's comment, May 8, 2013 5:34 AM
you have some excellent articles;) thank you
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Mental Activity and eXercise (MAX) Trial:  Trial to Enhance Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Mental Activity and eXercise (MAX) Trial:  Trial to Enhance Cognitive Function in Older Adults | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

The prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia are projected to rise dramatically during the next 40 years, and strategies for maintaining cognitive function with age are critically needed. Physical or mental activity alone result in relatively small, domain-specific improvements in cognitive function in older adults; combined interventions may have more global effects.

Participants A total of 126 inactive, community-residing older adults with cognitive complaints.

Interventions All participants engaged in home-based mental activity (1 h/d, 3 d/wk) plus class-based physical activity (1 h/d, 3 d/wk) for 12 weeks and were randomized to either mental activity intervention (MA-I; intensive computer) or mental activity control (MA-C; educational DVDs) plus exercise intervention (EX-I; aerobic) or exercise control (EX-C; stretching and toning); a 2 × 2 factorial design was used so that there were 4 groups: MA-I/EX-I, MA-I/EX-C, MA-C/EX-1, and MA-C/EX-C.

Results Participants had a mean age of 73.4 years; 62.7% were women, and 34.9% were Hispanic or nonwhite. There were no significant differences between the groups at baseline. Global cognitive scores improved significantly over time (mean, 0.16 SD; P < .001) but did not differ between groups in the comparison between MA-I and MA-C (ignoring exercise, P = .17), the comparison between EX-I and EX-C (ignoring mental activity, P = .74), or across all 4 randomization groups (P = .26).

Conclusions and Relevance In inactive older adults with cognitive complaints, 12 weeks of physical plus mental activity was associated with significant improvements in global cognitive function.

Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

Another feather in the cap of exercise. The benefits on blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, muscle and bone strength are well known. In addition, now, this study showed a significant benefit on cognitive (thinking) ability with exercise (moderate intensity, 60 minutes, 3 x / week). There was no added benefit of mental activity such as performing games to enhance the speed and accuracy of visual and auditory processing.
Exercise: low risk, multiple benefits, low cost.

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Blair Kettle's curator insight, November 12, 2013 5:25 PM

"In inactive older adults with cognitive complaints, 12 weeks of physical plus mental activity was associated with significant improvements in global cognitive function"

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Exercise Might Beat Puzzles for Protecting the Aging Brain

Exercise Might Beat Puzzles for Protecting the Aging Brain | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

To help stave off the cognitive decline of aging, you might want to drop the crossword puzzle and head out for a brisk walk or a bike ride.

In a study published in the journal Neurology of almost 700 people born in 1936, researchers found physically active people showed fewer signs of brain shrinkage and other deterioration than those who got less exercise.

At the same time, social and intellectual activities such as visiting family and friends, reading, playing intellectually stimulating games or learning a new language did nearly nothing to ward off the symptoms of an aging brain, the study said.

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