In today’s world, health challenges are equal for people of all age groups. One of the main diseases among older adults is dementia, or more particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a decline in cognition. The decrease in cognitive abilities is a natural part of the process of aging.
An excess of it which may make a person unable to perform everyday tasks may be a sign of dementia. Conditions which come under this term are not a normal part of aging.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. According to statistics from 2013, five million out of the 6.8 million cases of dementia were of Alzheimer’s disease.
The condition can greatly affect the quality of life. This is why recognizing the early symptoms of it is fairly important. At the moment, the focus of most of the studies is on this very factor.
Recognition of signs in a person can lead to quick treatment. Although there is medical literature present on Alzheimer’s disease, there is a gap that occurs in knowledge on risk factors.
For instance, having a family history of any condition increases the risk. In the case of dementia, there is no difference. A new study further investigates how this may affect the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The main focus of the study was on how having a relative with the disease can affect the person’s own cognition. The findings of the study appear in the journal eLife.
Read the study here.
What Was the Research Methodology?
Having a relative with Alzheimer’s disease is known to increase the risk of the disease. However, no research focuses on how it impacts cognitive abilities of people as they age. Therefore, researchers in the new study look at people who live with a close relative with Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers in the study took data from around 59,571 participants. This was done using questionnaires online. The participants had to answer questions on the following: education level, family history, general health, lifestyle, sex, and country of origin.
At the same time, there were also tests to observe the participants’ cognitive skills. The participants were had to memorize different word pairs. Then, they filled matching words in the new pairs given by the researchers.
What Was the Result?
After the test, the people with a sibling or close relative with Alzheimer’s disease paired fewer words. In comparison, those with no relatives with the condition performed better.
Another factor that came into play was other health conditions, specifically diabetes. People with both diabetes and a relative with Alzheimer’s had higher levels of cognitive impairment.
Lastly, perhaps the most interesting finding was that education levels also made a difference. Higher education levels cut down the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The results were also the same in people with a family history of the condition.
Generally, the researchers state that their study shows the importance of quality of lifestyles. Managing diseases like diabetes, staying healthy, and learning is significant parts of life. By doing so, a person can prevent not only Alzheimer’s disease but also maintain overall good health.