New Study Shows Link between Blood Vessel Disease and Alzheimer’s

Study Suggests Possibility of New Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s disease

Though not definitive, a new study recently published in The Lancet Neurology, offers some hope that we might have another tool in our efforts to prevent or diminish the impact of Alzheimer’s dementia.

The study, conducted at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, involved analysis of data from post-mortem examinations of the brain cells of 1,143 individuals. The analysis found a link between blood vessel disease and Alzheimer’s, specifically atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. The study’s authors stress that at this point, they can only state that there is a link but not the nature of it. For this, more research is needed. Nevertheless, the findings do open up the possibilities of new prevention strategies.

 Alzheimer's disease

Atherosclerosis is when layers of fat enter the vessels, causing a build-up of plaque. Arteriosclerosis is a thickening of the blood vessels. Both are referred to as cardiovascular disease. We have known that stroke is a causative factor in developing dementia but a possible link between blood vessel disease and Alzheimer’s has not been researched. The Chicago study titled, “Relation of Cerebral Vessel Disease to Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia and Cognitive Function in Elderly People; a Cross-sectional Study,” implies that there is such a link.

Scientists examined the brain autopsy data for indicators of Alzheimer’s and of blood vessel disease in the brain. Of the 1,143 deceased individuals, half were over the age of 88 when they died, 42 percent had Alzheimer’s, 35 percent were stricken with arteriosclerosis and 39 percent with atherosclerosis. The research showed that as blood vessel disease worsened, the risk of Alzheimer’s rose. Scientists also found that patients with atherosclerosis demonstrated more severe cognitive dysfunction, especially in the areas of visuospatial abilities, semantic and episodic memory and speed of perception. The presence of APOE ε4, a gene known to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, was not compromised in the study.

Clearly, this is a very good beginning and with more research into how blood vessel disease is contributing to Alzheimer’s, we may have yet another way to identify patients at risk and be able to implement earlier and more effective treatment strategies.

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11 responses to “New Study Shows Link between Blood Vessel Disease and Alzheimer’s

  1. Very informative, as is typical. I did not know about this link but I suspected it. It is time for more people to get serious about their blood pressure and health in general.

  2. It seems like scientists and researchers are learning more about what causes Alzheimer’s and what diseases possibly are linked to it. Overall I hope they find a cure because this is alarming.

  3. Caroline Kaugher

    Sounds like we’re getting ever closer to finding the preventative measures, if not the actual cause. I find is so amazing that I can hold my phone in my hand and see someone in real time halfway cross the world, and we still don’t know how to cure alzheimers & cancer. Onward Soldiers, Fight the Good Fight! Can’t wait til we can eradicate this terrible disease.

  4. This discovery of condensed blood vessels linking to Alzheimer’s disease is surely alarming, and will perhaps better allow doctors on how to assess risk.

  5. Shasta McAnally Martin

    Alzheimer’s Disease is a very sad & painful thing for a family to go through. The more people understand about it the better. Thanks for sharing this

  6. Vincent Agosta

    Good information to know. this will alert doctors and help them to discover new cures and medicine. I hope they can find a solution for this disease.

  7. It is fascinating to study there’s a relation between blood vessels and Alzheimers’s disease. This serves an very informative information to know more about the disease based on research so we can someday find the true cure and further prevention.

  8. This is very good to know – I am so glad so much research is being done, and hopeful we can eradicate this disease for good!

  9. Please keep us up to date on any new research that comes out as well!

  10. This post has alot of great information about blood vessel disease and Alzheimers i have learned more about both disease from this. I really pray that they could find a cure for the both disease .I know how hard it is to de with Alzheimers growing my grandmother had it and it really sad watching someone you love going threw this.

  11. There is a of useful information in this article. Im so glad we have come this far in knowning about this horrible disease

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