A collaborative research project by Taichung Veterans General Hospital and Taipei Veterans General Hospital has found that if measures could be introduced to prevent or cure cerebrovascular disease, it could help prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
One percent of people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s, Lee Wei-ju (李威儒), a doctor from Taichung Veterans General Hospital’s Dementia and Alzheimer Treatment Center, said on Thursday.
With every year after 65, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases 2 to 5 percent, Lee said.
Photo copied by Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times
Alzheimer’s is most often seen as a kind of dementia and there is still no cure for it, he said.
However, cerebrovascular disease is a key factor in causing Alzheimer’s, Lee added.
People with coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, as well as those who smoke, are obese or do not exercise enough, can develop cerebrovascular disease, Lee said.
Research in the US and Europe showed that due to the control of such factors, the number of Alzheimer’s cases has decreased.
On average, the mental health of people with Alzheimer’s regresses by two to three points on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) every year, Lee said.
The neurological centers at both hospitals tracked 330 people with Alzheimer’s for three years. They had an average age of 80, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four to five years earlier, had averaged 18.7 points on the MMSE at the time of diagnosis and had been diagnosed from 2012 to 2016, he said.
The research found that people with three or more high-risk factors lost six points on average on the MMSE during the research, while those with less than three regressed less than two points on the MMSE, Lee said.
People who have apolipoprotein E4 would also see an increased rate of mental health regression, Lee added.
The study showed that control and treatment of factors leading to cerebrovascular disease is the most important method for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s, Lee said, adding that it is to be published by the American Geriatrics Society.
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