POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES (11.19.2021, 4:50pm CEST, WHO):   India 11,106    Brazil 11,977    United Kingdom 46,858    Russia 37,156    Turkey 22,234    France 19,840    Argentina 1,553    Germany 52,970    Spain 3,932    Columbia 2,257    Italy 10,645    Mexico 3,836    Ukraine 20,050    Poland 23,242    Philippines 1,297    Malaysia 6,380    Netherlands 23,680    Peru 1,370    Thailand 6,855    Czechia 13,374    Canada 2,448    Romania 3,076    Chile 2,611    Serbia 3,219    Sweden 1,210    Portugal 2,398    Vietnam 10,223    Kazakhstan 1,272    Austria 14,212    Hungary 11,289    Greece 7,276    Georgia 4,278    Bulgaria 2,785    Belarus 1,844    Slovakia 7,418    Azerbaijan 2,124    Croatia 7,270    Bolivia 1,119    Ireland 4,646    Lithuania 1,847    Denmark 4,013    South Korea 3,034    Slovenia 3,662    Latvia 1,221    Laos 1,401    China 31    New Zealand 200    Australia 1,302   

Immune disorders may be tied to dementia risk

Staff Writer |
People with autoimmune diseases - conditions that cause a person's immune system to turn against the body - appear to have an increased risk of developing dementia, a new British study suggests.

Article continues below






Researchers found that 18 out of 25 different autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, psoriasis or multiple sclerosis, "showed a statistically significant association with dementia," said study co-author Dr. Michael Goldacre. He's a professor of public health at the University of Oxford.

But Goldacre and other experts stressed that the study didn't prove that autoimmune diseases cause dementia. The research only showed that these conditions are associated with a higher risk of dementia.

Specifically, the study found that people with multiple sclerosis appeared to have nearly double the risk of dementia. Psoriasis was associated with a 29 percent increased risk of dementia. Lupus was linked to a 46 percent increased risk, and rheumatoid arthritis with a 13 percent increased risk. Crohn's disease was associated with a 10 percent increased risk.

"How do [autoimmune diseases] affect the brain? We don't know, although others have suggested that chronic inflammation, possibly autoimmune effects, or possibly both, may have a role in Alzheimer's," Goldacre said.

For this study, the researchers reviewed information from more than 1.8 million people in England. All had been admitted to a hospital with an autoimmune disease between 1998 and 2012.

Compared with people admitted for other causes, patients admitted for treatment of an autoimmune disorder were 20 percent more likely to wind up back at the hospital later with dementia, the researchers found.

However, when researchers broke down their findings by type of dementia, they found that autoimmune diseases only increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by about 6 percent.

The autoimmune diseases had a much stronger impact on the risk of vascular dementia. The risk of vascular dementia was 28 percent higher in people with autoimmune diseases.

People with vascular dementia experience a decline in their thinking skills due to conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain, starving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients.

This apparent increased risk for vascular dementia could be caused by the effect of autoimmune diseases on the circulatory system, the researchers said.

The study also found that people with an autoimmune disease were 53 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart disease. Those with an autoimmune disease were also 46 percent more likely to have a stroke.

The link between vascular dementia and autoimmune diseases is "something new," said James Hendrix. He's the director of global science initiatives for the Alzheimer's Association, based in Chicago.


What to read next

Computer-based test aims to predict dementia risk
Frequent sauna bathing protects men against dementia
Dementia in primary care increased in the Netherlands over 23 years