People with Type 2 Diabetes at Double the Risk for Alzheimer’s

People with Type 2 Diabetes at Double the Risk for Alzheimer’s

Diabetes may be linked to the buildup of tangles or tau in the brain, separate from Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the online version of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Evidence shows that people with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of developing dementia,” said study author Velandai Srikanth, MD, PhD, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

The study involved 816 people with an average age of about 74. Of those, 397 had mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia, 191 had Alzheimer’s disease dementia and 228 people had no memory and thinking problems. A total of 124 of the participants had diabetes.

The study found that those with diabetes had greater levels of the tau protein in the spinal and brain fluid irrespective of the diagnosis of dementia. Greater levels of tau in spinal fluid may reflect a greater build-up of tangles in the brain. These tangles may eventually contribute to the development of dementia.

Researchers noted that because the study looked at participants’ data at one point in time, it does not determine whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes and the brain tangles.

Diabetes can be controlled through lifestyle so in essence you can reduce your risk by 50%!

Life Expectancy Climbs Worldwide but People Spend More Years Living with Illness and Disability

Life Expectancy Climbs Worldwide but People Spend More Years Living with Illness and Disability

Global life expectancy has risen by more than six years since 1990 as healthy life expectancy grows.

People around the world are living longer, even in some of the poorest countries, but a complex mix of fatal and nonfatal ailments causes a tremendous amount of health loss, according to a new analysis of all major diseases and injuries in 188 countries.

Thanks to marked declines in death and illness caused by HIV/AIDS and malaria in the past decade and significant advances made in addressing communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional disorders, health has improved significantly around the world. Global life expectancy at birth for both sexes rose by 6.2 years (from 65.3 in 1990 to 71.5 in 2013), while healthy life expectancy, or HALE, at birth rose by 5.4 years (from 56.9 in 1990 to 62.3 in 2013).

Healthy life expectancy takes into account not just mortality but also the impact of nonfatal conditions and summarizes years lived with disability and years lost due to premature mortality.

The increase in healthy life expectancy has not been as dramatic as the growth of life expectancy, and as a result, people are living more years with illness and disability.

Japan had the highest healthy life expectancy followed by Singapore, Andorra, Iceland, Cyprus, Israel, France, Italy, South Korea, Canada. Notice a country missing?!


Knee and Hip Replacements May Be Bad for the Heart

Knee and Hip Replacements May Be Bad for the Heart

Boston-based researchers found that patients who had total knee or hip joint replacement surgery, known as arthroplasty, were at increased risk of heart attack in the early post-operative period. However, findings published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), indicate that long-term risk of heart attack did not persist, while the risk for venous blood clot in veins and lungs remained years after the procedure.

Studies estimate that 1.8 million arthroplasty procedures are performed each year worldwide, and that number may increase as the population ages.

“While evidence shows that joint replacement surgery improves pain, function, and quality of life for the osteoarthritis patient, the impact of cardiovascular health has not been confirmed,” explains lead study author Yuqing Zhang, D.Sc., Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.

The study included 13,849 patients who underwent total knee replacement surgery and 13,849 matched controls who did not have surgery. Patients were 50 years of age or older and diagnosed with knee or hip osteoarthritis between January 2000 and December 2012.

Findings indicate that 306 patients in the arthroplasty group and 286 in the non-surgical group developed myocardial infarction during the follow-up period. Risk of heart attack was significantly higher during the first postoperative month in those who had knee replacement surgery compared to those in the non-surgical group, and gradually declined over time.

Working Long Hours Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke

Working Long Hours Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke

Working 55 hours or more per week is linked to a 33% greater risk of stroke and a more modest (13%) increased risk of developing coronary heart disease compared with working a standard 35 to 40 hour week, according to the largest study in this field so far involving over 600,000 individuals, published in The Lancet.

Mika Kivimäki, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, UK, and colleagues did a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual-level data examining the effects of longer working hours on cardiovascular disease up to August 20, 2014.

Analysis of data from 25 studies involving 603,838 men and women from Europe, the USA, and Australia who were followed for an average of 8.5 years, found a 13% increased risk of incident coronary heart disease (a new diagnosis, hospitalization, or death) in people working 55 hours or more per week compared with those putting in a normal 35 to 40 hour week, even after taking into account risk factors including age, sex, and socioeconomic status.

Analysis of data from 17 studies involving 528,908 men and women who were followed up for an average of 7.2 years, found a 1.3 times higher risk of stroke in individuals working 55 hours or more a week compared with those working standard hours. This association remained even after taking into account health behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity, and standard cardiovascular risk factors including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Importantly, the researchers found that the longer people worked, the higher their chances of a stroke. For example, compared with people who worked standard hours, those working between 41 and 48 hours had a 10% higher risk of stroke, and those working 49 to 54 hours had a 27% increased risk of stroke.

Although the causal mechanisms of these relationships need to be better understood, the authors suggest that increasing health-risk behaviors, such as physical inactivity and high alcohol consumption, as well as repetitive triggering of the stress response, might increase the risk of stroke.

According to Professor Kivimäki, “The pooling of all available studies on this topic allowed us to investigate the association between working hours and cardiovascular disease risk with greater precision than has previously been possible. Health professionals should be aware that working long hours is associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke, and perhaps also coronary heart disease.”

Physical Activity, Nutrient Supplementation Interventions Fail to Have Significant Effect on Cognitive Function

Physical activity, supplements not necessarily beneficial over long term in preventing cognitive decline.

Physical Activity, Nutrient Supplementation Interventions Fail to Have Significant Effect on Cognitive Function

Two studies in JAMA examine the effect of physical activity and nutrient supplementation on cognitive function. The news is not encouraging.

In one study, Kaycee M. Sink, M.D., M.A.S., of the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues evaluated whether a 24-month physical activity program would result in better cognitive function, lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, or both, compared with a health education program.

Epidemiological evidence suggests that physical activity is associated with lower rates of cognitive decline. Exercise is associated with improved cerebral blood flow and neuronal connectivity and maintenance or improvement in brain volume.

Participants (1,635, ages 70-89) in the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study were randomly assigned to a structured, moderate-intensity physical activity program that included walking, resistance training, and flexibility exercises or a health education program of educational workshops and upper-extremity stretching. Participants were sedentary adults who were at risk for mobility disability but able to walk about a quarter mile. Measures of cognitive function and dementia were determined at 24 months.

The researchers found that the moderate-intensity physical activity intervention did not result in better cognition compared with the health education program. There was also no significant difference between groups in the incidence dementia.

“Cognitive function remained stable over 2 years for all participants. We cannot rule out that both interventions were successful at maintaining cognitive function,” the authors write.

Participants in the physical activity group who were 80 years or older and those with poorer baseline physical performance had better outcomes.

In another study, Emily Y. Chew, M.D., of the National Eye Institute/National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues tested the effects of oral supplementation with nutrients on cognitive function.

Participants were randomly assigned to two groups.  All participants were also given varying combinations of vitamins C. E. beta carotene, and zinc. In addition to annual eye examinations, several validated cognitive function tests were administered via telephone by trained personnel at baseline and every 2 years during the 5-year study. The average age of the participants was 73 years, and 57.5 percent were women.

There were no statistically significant differences in change of measures of cognitive function for participants randomized to receive supplements vs those who were not.

Regarding the lack of effect of the supplements, the authors speculate that the supplements were started too late in the aging process and that supplementation duration of 5 years may be insufficient. “The process of cognitive decline may occur over decades, thus a short-term supplementation given too late in the disease may not be effective.”

My opinion – I wouldn’t let this stop you from exercising. I have mixed feelings on the supplement side. I personally have to take them to prevent osteoporosis and build calcium and I have used combination of supplements in the past to lose almost 30 pounds.