November 16, 2010
Silent Vascular Disease Common With Age

Vascular disease isn't just about massive heart attacks and strokes. Vascular disease causes brain damage that degrades brain function as we age.

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) Older people who are leading active, healthy lifestyles often have silent vascular disease that can be seen on brain scans that affect their ability to think, according to a new study led by UC Davis researchers and published online today in the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA Archives journals.

Silent undiagnosed vascular disease in the brain is really common in older folks.

"This study shows that silent vascular disease is really common as we get older and it influences our thinking abilities," said Charles DeCarli, professor of neurology in the School of Medicine at UC Davis and director of the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center. "We're beginning to realize that vascular disease plays a major role in Alzheimer's disease they go together."

The study findings are based on data from participants in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The initiative tracks individuals who are normal, those who have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and people with Alzheimer's disease using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and laboratory and cognitive testing to track changes in their cognitive status.

If you aren't worried about your arteries and heart because you figure we all have go to die somehow then think again. Clogged arteries are about more than heart attacks. The damage that accumulates as we age doesn't just add up until sudden massive system failure. It causes many smaller cuts over years.

It has been too long since my last vitamin D plug. Well, witamin D might help protect the brain against strokes.

Low levels of vitamin D, the essential nutrient obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, doubles the risk of stroke in whites, but not in blacks, according to a new report by researchers at Johns Hopkins.

Stroke is the nation's third leading cause of death, killing more than 140,000 Americans annually and temporarily or permanently disabling over half a million when there is a loss of blood flow to the brain.

Researchers say their findings, to be presented Nov. 15 at the American Heart Association's (AHA) annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, back up evidence from earlier work at Johns Hopkins linking vitamin D deficiency to higher rates of death, heart disease and peripheral artery disease in adults.

For more ideas on how to preserve your brain from vascular damage check out my Aging Diet Heart Studies category archive.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 November 16 11:31 PM  Aging Brain Studies


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