Lifestyle-related factors in predementia and dementia syndromes

Department of Geriatrics, Center for Aging Brain, Memory Unit, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics (Impact Factor: 2.78). 02/2008; 8(1):133-58. DOI: 10.1586/14737175.8.1.133
Source: PubMed


Cognitive decline and dementia have a deep impact on the health and quality of life of older subjects and their caregivers. Since the therapeutic options currently available have demonstrated limited efficacy, the search for preventive strategies for cognitive decline and dementia are mandatory. A possible role of lifestyle-related factors was recently proposed for age-related changes of cognitive function, predementia syndromes and the cognitive decline of degenerative (Alzheimer's disease [AD]) or vascular origin. At present, cumulative evidence suggests that vascular risk factors may be important in the development of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia and AD. Moderate alcohol drinking has been proposed as a protective factor against MCI and dementia in several longitudinal studies, but contrasting findings also exist. The Mediterranean diet could therefore be an interesting model with which to further study the association between dietary patterns and cognitive functioning, given the suggested role of many components of this diet (monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, cereals and red wine) in contrasting cognitive impairment and dementia. The association between low education and predementia and dementia syndromes is supported by the majority of studies, but very few studies have investigated whether this association may be attributed with lifestyle factors that covary with education. Studies in the literature seem to identify in physical exercise one promising strategy in decreasing cognitive decline, but some of the limitations of these studies do not allow us to draw definite conclusions. At present, in older subjects, healthy diets, antioxidant supplements, the prevention of nutritional deficiencies, and moderate physical activity could be considered the first line of defense against the development and progression of predementia and dementia syndromes. However, in most cases, these were only observational studies, and results are awaited from large multicenter randomized clinical trials in older persons that may clarify the possible synergy, for example, between moderate exercise, physical activity and healthy Mediterranean diet on cognition in the elderly.

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    • "In contrast, a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle (including physical activity, normal body weight, smoking cessation, Mediterranean diet, and moderate alcohol intake) was shown to lower the risk of cognitive decline and dementia (Peters et al., 2008; Solfrizzi et al., 2008; Luchsinger and Gustafson, 2009; Scarmeas et al., 2009; Xu et al., 2009; Erickson et al., 2010; Feart et al., 2010; Frisardi et al., 2010; Gu et al., 2010; Nepal et al., 2010). Maintaining cardiovascular health in midlife was recently suggested to be the most promising strategy for preventing cognitive impairment and dementia in late life (Hughes and Ganguli, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Aging alters brain structure and function. Personal health markers and modifiable lifestyle factors are related to individual brain aging as well as to the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study used a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based biomarker to assess the effects of 17 health markers on individual brain aging in cognitively unimpaired elderly subjects. By employing kernel regression methods, the expression of normal brain-aging patterns forms the basis to estimate the brain age of a given new subject. If the estimated age is higher than the chronological age, a positive brain age gap estimation (BrainAGE) score indicates accelerated atrophy and is considered a risk factor for developing AD. Within this cross-sectional, multi-center study 228 cognitively unimpaired elderly subjects (118 males) completed an MRI at 1.5Tesla, physiological and blood parameter assessments. The multivariate regression model combining all measured parameters was capable of explaining 39% of BrainAGE variance in males (p < 0.001) and 32% in females (p < 0.01). Furthermore, markers of the metabolic syndrome as well as markers of liver and kidney functions were profoundly related to BrainAGE scores in males (p < 0.05). In females, markers of liver and kidney functions as well as supply of vitamin B12 were significantly related to BrainAGE (p < 0.05). In conclusion, in cognitively unimpaired elderly subjects several clinical markers of poor health were associated with subtle structural changes in the brain that reflect accelerated aging, whereas protective effects on brain aging were observed for markers of good health. Additionally, the relations between individual brain aging and miscellaneous health markers show gender-specific patterns. The BrainAGE approach may thus serve as a clinically relevant biomarker for the detection of subtly abnormal patterns of brain aging probably preceding cognitive decline and development of AD.
    Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 05/2014; 6(94). DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00094 · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    • "Across all subjects, and independently of diabetes duration, age, and gender, those with higher BrainAGE scores consumed more alcohol. This observation is supported by recent studies suggesting a U-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive impairment (Anttila et al., 2004; Solfrizzi et al., 2008). Higher BrainAGE scores were also linked to increased TNFα levels, which are now believed to play a central role in the pathogenesis of AD (Tobinick and Gross, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Aging alters brain structure and function and diabetes mellitus (DM) may accelerate this process. This study investigated the effects of type 2 DM on individual brain aging as well as the relationships between individual brain aging, risk factors, and functional measures. To differentiate a pattern of brain atrophy that deviates from normal brain aging, we used the novel BrainAGE approach, which determines the complex multidimensional aging pattern within the whole brain by applying established kernel regression methods to anatomical brain magnetic resonance images (MRI). The "Brain Age Gap Estimation" (BrainAGE) score was then calculated as the difference between chronological age and estimated brain age. 185 subjects (98 with type 2 DM) completed an MRI at 3Tesla, laboratory and clinical assessments. Twenty-five subjects (12 with type 2 DM) also completed a follow-up visit after 3.8 ± 1.5 years. The estimated brain age of DM subjects was 4.6 ± 7.2 years greater than their chronological age (p = 0.0001), whereas within the control group, estimated brain age was similar to chronological age. As compared to baseline, the average BrainAGE scores of DM subjects increased by 0.2 years per follow-up year (p = 0.034), whereas the BrainAGE scores of controls did not change between baseline and follow-up. At baseline, across all subjects, higher BrainAGE scores were associated with greater smoking and alcohol consumption, higher tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) levels, lower verbal fluency scores and more severe deprepession. Within the DM group, higher BrainAGE scores were associated with longer diabetes duration (r = 0.31, p = 0.019) and increased fasting blood glucose levels (r = 0.34, p = 0.025). In conclusion, type 2 DM is independently associated with structural changes in the brain that reflect advanced aging. The BrainAGE approach may thus serve as a clinically relevant biomarker for the detection of abnormal patterns of brain aging associated with type 2 DM.
    Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 12/2013; 5:90. DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2013.00090 · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    • "Epidemiological evidence supports the hypothesis that modifiable lifestyle-related factors are associated with cognitive decline, which opens new avenues for prevention (Solfrizzi et al., 2008). Diet in particular has become the object of intense research in relation to cognitive aging and neurodegenerative diseases. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive decline in elderly people often derives from the interaction between aging-related changes and age-related diseases and covers a large spectrum of clinical manifestations, from intact cognition through mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Epidemiological evidence supports the hypothesis that modifiable lifestyle-related factors are associated with cognitive decline, opening new avenues for prevention. Diet in particular has become the object of intense research in relation to cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disease. We reviewed the most recent findings in this rapidly expanding field. Some nutrients, such as vitamins and fatty acids, have been studied longer than others, but strong scientific evidence of an association is lacking even for these compounds. Specific dietary patterns, like the Mediterranean diet, may be more beneficial than a high consumption of single nutrients or specific food items. A strong link between vascular risk factors and dementia has been shown, and the association of diet with several vascular and metabolic diseases is well known. Other plausible mechanisms underlying the relationship between diet and cognitive decline, such as inflammation and oxidative stress, have been established. In addition to the traditional etiological pathways, new hypotheses, such as the role of the intestinal microbiome in cognitive function, have been suggested and warrant further investigation.
    Mechanisms of ageing and development 12/2013; 136-137. DOI:10.1016/j.mad.2013.11.011 · 3.40 Impact Factor
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