Dementia

Cognitive function is an intellectual process by which we become aware of, perceive, or comprehend ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning, and remembering.Infanthood and early childhood are the periods in life where most individuals are able to absorb and use new information the best. The capacity to learn normally slows down with age, but the overall cognitive function should not decline on a large scale in healthy individuals. Cognitive dysfunction is defined as an unusually poor mental function associated with confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty to concentrate. Factors such as ageing and disease may affect cognitive function over time. Growing evidence supports the role of vascular disease and vascular risk factors in cognitive decline, Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.

 

Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment where an individual loses the ability to think, remember and reason due to physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a form of dementia. AD and other types of dementia are most common in the elderly, and are associated with huge health costs. With a rapidly aging population throughout the world, factors that affect the risk of cognitive decline and dementia are of great importance. Recently, insulin resistance and hyperinsulineamia, the precursors of type 2 diabetes have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment.

 

The moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages has consistently been associated with a decreased cardiovascular risk, so it may be hypothesized that this cardiovascular protection could also decrease vascular dementia and cognitive decline because alcohol might improve blood flow in the brain and prevent the deposit of plaques . Even though chronic abuse of alcoholic beverages can cause progressive neurodegenerative disease, many studies have suggested that a moderate intake is associated with a lower risk of dementia or cognitive impairment.

 

At present, there are no proven pharmaceutical drugs and therapies to prevent or treat cognitive decline or dementia, although a number of prospective epidemiologic studies have shown a lower risk of such conditions among light to moderate drinkers of wine and other alcoholic beverages in comparison with non-drinkers.  When the effect of different alcoholic beverages was examined, the results indicated that only moderate wine consumption was independently associated with better performance on all cognitive tests in both men and women. 

In the literature, there are many mechanisms proposed to explain these results. Wine may affect the risk factors for ischemic processes and stroke positively. It has been suggested that the antioxidant properties of the phenolic compounds in wine may help to prevent the oxidative damage implicated in dementia. Oxidative stress is thought to be involved in Alzheimer’s Disease by the formation of amyloid-ß protein and DNA damage in neurons in the brain. Resveratrol with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may also play a role.  In addition, alcohol increases the levels of HDL cholesterol and fibrinolytic factors resulting in a lower platelet aggregation. Furthermore, moderate consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages enhances insulin sensitivity and consequently, may improve the memory function in subjects with early AD or mild cognitive impairment.

 

It is also possible that the beneficial effects of moderate drinking noted in studies might just be a marker for an overall healthy lifestyle. The Mediterranean diet with whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil and moderate red wine also reduces the risk of dementia, as does exercise, social engagement, mental activities and an optimistic outlook on life.

 

Experimental animal studies indicated that the phenolic compounds in wine were able to prevent the formation of plaques that are associated with the development of AD and other forms of dementia.

 

The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.

 

 

 

 

AIMS: To investigate the underlying neurobiology between alcohol use, misuse and dependence and cognitive impairment, particularly Alzheimer's disease (AD). METHODS: Review of the literature using searches of Medline, Pubmed, EMBASE, PsycInfo, and meeting abstracts and presentations. RESULTS: The role of alcohol as a risk factor and contributor for cognitive decline associated with AD has received little attention. This is despite the high prevalence of alcohol use, the potential reversibility of a degree of cognitive impairment and the global burden of AD. Until now the focus has largely been on the toxic effects of alcohol, neuronal loss and the role of thiamine. CONCLUSION: We propose alcohol adds to the cognitive burden seen in dementia through additional mechanisms to neurodegenerative processes or…
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by dense deposition of amyloid-beta (Abeta) protein in the brain, failure of the memory and dementia. At present, there is no cure for AD and current treatments only provide a temporary reduction of symptoms. Thus, there is a need for effective preventive/curative strategic approaches. Accordingly, epidemiological studies have reported a reduction in the prevalence of AD in individuals ingesting low amounts of alcohol, while a moderate consumption of ethanol may protect against Abeta. These data are conflicting with other observations that assigned detrimental effects of heavy alcohol use on brain function, which are apparently similar to those observed in AD. These discrepancies questioned whether or not alcohol is a protective agent against…
BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may protect against cognitive decline and dementia. However, uncertainty remains over the patterns of drinking that are most beneficial. OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between amount and frequency of alcohol consumption with multiple domains of cognitive function in a well-characterized cohort of older community-dwelling adults in southern California. DESIGN: Observational, cross-sectional cohort study. SETTING: A research visit between 1988-1992 in Rancho Bernardo, California. PARTICIPANTS: 1624 participants of the Rancho Bernardo Study (mean age +/- SD = 73.2 +/- 9.3 years). Measurements: Participants completed a neuropsychological test battery, self-administered questionnaires on alcohol consumption and lifestyle, and a clinical health evaluation. We classified participants according to average amount of alcohol intake into never, former, moderate, heavy…
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and mortality in patients recently diagnosed with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD). DESIGN: A post hoc analysis study based on a clinical trial population. SETTING: The data reported were collected as part of the Danish Alzheimer's Intervention Study (DAISY), a longitudinal multicentre randomised controlled study on the efficacy of psychosocial intervention in patients with mild AD across five county districts in Denmark. PARTICIPANTS: 321 patients with mild AD (Mini-Mental State Examination >/=20) were included. Data regarding current daily alcohol consumption were obtained from the patient's primary caregivers at inclusion. MAIN OUTCOME: All-cause mortality retrieved from The Danish Civil Registration System over a period of 36 months after baseline. RESULTS: Information about alcohol consumption…
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to determine the association between alcohol intake and risk of dementia related death, taking into account relevant confounding and mediating factors. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data was obtained from a Norwegian prospective study with a 17-year follow-up. The study population comprised 25,635 participants aged between 60 and 80 years at the time of examination from the Cohort of Norway (CONOR). Cox regression was used to investigate the association between alcohol use and dementia related death. RESULTS: Nearly half (12,139) of the study population died during follow-up, of which 1,224 had a diagnosis of dementia on their death certificate. The risk of dementia related death was significantly higher among abstainers than among individuals that drank…
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