I came across an article today suggesting a brain checker tool to help avoid dementia.
I covered this topic in another of my blogs back in 2019 when another report came out stating Scientists have long found a possible link between anticholinergic drugs and an increased risk of dementia.
A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday suggests that the link is strongest for certain classes of anticholinergic drugs — particularly antidepressants such as paroxetine or amitriptyline, bladder antimuscarinics such as oxybutynin or tolterodine, antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine or olanzapine and antiepileptic drugs such as oxcarbazepine or carbamazepine.
Study is important because it strengthens a growing body of evidence showing that strong anticholinergic drugs have long term associations with dementia risk,” said Carol Coupland, professor of medical statistics in primary care at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and first author of the study.
We wish it wasn’t the case but, unfortunately, memory loss is a hot topic. People have countless questions about brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
What really causes it? Read more
So the Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched a new app which gives people of all ages tips on how to keep their brains active and to reduce the risk of dementia.
The brain checker tool encourages people to do more to look after their brains, and offers suggestions to stay sharp.
Dementia is the term used to describe a set of symptoms that over time can affect memory, problem-solving, language and behaviour.
The disease is progressive, which means symptoms may be mild or even unnoticeable at first, but they get worse over time. There are many types of dementia but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. The next most common is vascular dementia
Well excuse me.. In March 2015, researchers published a prospective cohort study in JAMA Internal Medicine called “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia.”
The University of Washington and Seattle healthcare system, Group Health, conducted the long-term study which tracked 3,434 men and women who were aged 65 and up, and had no dementia when the study began.
The team accessed every participant’s history of drug use for the previous decade, including both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Over a 7-year timeline, they followed up with all the participants every two years, during which 797 participants developed dementia (637 of whom developed Alzheimer’s disease).
As researchers looked back on what those 797 individuals took, anticholinergic drugs became the main suspect. The most common anticholinergics participants used were tricyclic antidepressants, first-generation antihistamines, and bladder antimuscarinics.
Compared to those who didn’t take anticholinergic drugs, people who did for as little as three years were 54% more likely to develop dementia.
What Are Anticholinergics?
Usually, these types of drugs are prescribed to treat problems including urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
Anticholinergic drugs’ main purpose is to block the actions and effects of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which causes muscles to contract, activates pain responses and regulates endocrine and REM sleep functions.
It’s just a natural fact of life – as we age, our bodies’ ability to produce acetylcholine decreases. Since the brain actually contains many acetylcholine-producing cells, as Harvard editor Beverly Merz highlights, “blocking its effects can deliver a double whammy to older people.”
It was suggested that if you want to keep your head clear and brain functioning as highly as possible, steering clear of anticholinergic drugs seems ideal.
However, it is important to recognize that the long-term study revealed only a small portion of drugs was interfering with cognitive function. So, please discuss with your doctor if you’re thinking of getting off any prescribed medications.
I know that we have to try all avenues to help combat what is now the fastest growing health problem around the world.
Almost everyone has a mobile phone, a good percentage of owners pay games on their phone. We have the highest users of technology and evening is becoming automated. So if we are already using technology how is just a checker going to help? Just asking