Because of increased life expectancies, more people are living longer. As a result, more and more individuals are living into older age and suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Dementia experts have been researching the causes of dementia in the hopes of improving the lives of dementia sufferers.
Medical News Today ran an article marking Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. The article quoted a number of dementia experts whose research may have discovered the root cause of dementia. As it turns out, a decrease in blood flow in the brain may be an instigating factor.
How impaired blood flow may cause dementia
Long standing research has shown that certain risk factors influence both cardiovascular disease and dementia, including a decrease in blood flow. Recently, scientists have found evidence of diminished blood flow in the brain at a much earlier time in dementia patients. In the case of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers discovered evidence of decreased blood flow long before any of the pathologies associated with the disease had emerged.
According to one scientist, when blood supply in the brain decreases, it leads to an increase in toxic proteins like beta-amyloids. Once formed, these toxic proteins compress blood vessels to further diminish the flow of blood. In time, these events may result in dementia.
Other factors may influence dementia
Dementia researchers say they must continue to research the subject to find out exactly when the brain starts to undergo neurodegeneration. It is possible that a person may delay the onset of dementia because of a healthy lifestyle and diet, or avoiding serious health problems like infections or trauma which may damage blood flow and increase the risk of dementia.
Dementia researchers will likely test the theory that decreases in blood flow can harm the brain and lead to dementia in the hopes that the results will yield new treatments. This may lead to new hope that dementia sufferers in the future may see an improved quality of life.