8 Unusual and Lesser Known Factors Linked to Memory Loss in Older Age

  • What’s good for your body is good for your brain as suggested by science.
  • Overall good health, weight and eating a balanced diet help reduce risks that may lead to memory loss and eventually, Alzheimer’s disease.
  • But there are a lot more factors that can increase your risks of age-related ailments, the ones that are lesser known.

Here are the 8 factors that contribute to memory loss.

  1. Herpes

Researchers found in a study published in Neuron, of about 1,000 human brains, that the brains of people with  Alzheimer’s who died, had up to twice the levels of herpes simplex virus 6 and 7  compared to the others.  These viruses that seemed to interact with genes linked to Alzheimer’s, are known to cause childhood rash roseola.

Herpes Simplex 1, the type that causes cold sores, were found to be three times as likely to develop into Alzheimer’s in later life, compared to those without.  Treatment with antiviral drugs seemed to reduce their risks and prevent dementia.

  1. Air Pollution

A 2017 study showed that 92% of older women living in highly polluted areas are more likely to develop dementia than their counterparts living in climates with cleaner-air.

The strongest link was observed in women who had the genetic variation APOE4 , that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s. If these results agree with those from the general population, air pollution then accounts for about 21% dementia cases.

  1. Poor Sleep

Disturbed sleep over time may be linked to a build-up of brain proteins related to dementia. Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at NY, believes that quality sleep is essential for taking out the amyloid proteins loosened up in the brain by exercise. Over time, this will keep the brain healthy.

  1. Poor sense of smell

The volunteers in a 2016 study who had more trouble identifying scents like menthol, clove, strawberry, and lemon were appeared to be more at risk of Alzheimer’s.  An inexpensive scratch-and-sniff test, as advised by experts, is a noninvasive method to identify people who might benefit from preventive measures.

  1. Eating Patterns

Fasting for a minimum of 12 hours, as well as eating fewer calories, may be a way to promote brain health as we grow older, according to Isaacson.  This stimulates the body to burn ketone bodies, brain-healthy fat, rather than carbohydrates, which helps fuel the brain but has anti-aging effects as well.

  1. Concussions

A recent study in the journal Brain, young to middle-aged adults with a family history of Alzheimer’s and who had at least one concussion, were found to have less gray matter in parts of the brain linked to dementia. They also performed worse on a simple recall test which suggests that these brain changes could severely impact memory functions.

  1. Loneliness

Senior citizens whose brain scans showed amyloid protein clusters developed were 7.5 times more likely classified as lonely than those whose scans were negative, according to a study from JAMA Psychiatry. Experts believe that either dementia cause people to feel withdrawn or loneliness promotes dementia.

  1. High Blood Pressure

Hypertension developed in old age actually reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, untreated hypertension in young and middle-aged adults increases their risks of dementia as they get older.

Source: Health


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