March 15, 2012
Retinopathy Marker For Cognitive Decline

A disease of the blood vessels of the retina in the eye turns to be an indicator for risk of cognitive decline.

Women 65 or older who have even mild retinopathy, a disease of blood vessels in the retina, are more likely to have cognitive decline and related vascular changes in the brain, according to a multi-institutional study led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The findings suggest that a relatively simple eye screening could serve as a marker for cognitive changes related to vascular disease, allowing for early diagnosis and treatment, potentially reducing the progression of cognitive impairment to dementia.

One thing noteworthy here: the vascular system is incredibly important. If I had to choose just a few rejuvenation therapies out of a much larger set then one I'd be tempted to go for is a complete rejuvenation of the vasculature. Aging blood vessels do not deliver enough nutrients. They also rupture, causing dead of neurons in the brain. The damaging effects are manifold.

High blood pressure and insulin-resistant diabetes are both major risk factors for retinopathy.

As retinopathy usually is caused by Type II diabetes or hypertension, a diagnosis could indicate early stages of these diseases, before they are clinically detectable. Early diagnosis could allow for lifestyle or drug interventions when they might be most effective.

“Lots of people who are pre-diabetic or pre-hypertensive develop retinopathy,” said the lead author of the study, Mary Haan, DrPH, MPH, UCSF professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. “Early intervention might reduce the progression to full onset diabetes or hypertension.”

We even more need the ability to reverse diabetes and high blood pressure. Rejuvenation of the blood vessels would likely lower blood pressure. Bring on the stem cell therapies and drugs that would gradually kill off old vascular cells and youthful cells take their place.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 March 15 10:11 PM  Aging Cardiovascular Studies

Alexander said at March 16, 2012 5:49 AM:

Great information! I love your blog! You always post interesting things!

Tuck said at March 16, 2012 11:58 AM:

"We even more need the ability to reverse diabetes and high blood pressure."

We've got it. It's not even particularly difficult.

Peter Spiegel said at March 16, 2012 2:36 PM:

Exercise and plant -based diet.

Joe said at March 18, 2012 2:40 PM:

Actually, Peter, it's a low-carb diet (and exercise, of course) that can prevent, and even reverse diabetes.

Just one example:

parl said at March 18, 2012 6:26 PM:

Check out some of the medical research on grape seed extract for promoting vascular integrity and reduced inflammation: (some citations within)
...and many more!

BillyB said at March 18, 2012 6:42 PM:

Those who don't know what a comma is, or who don't read what they type before posting, are good candidates for vascular rejuvenation ... or an editor.

parl said at March 18, 2012 8:36 PM:

Billy, you have issues? Chill on the commas,,,, or you'll blow out an artery. Haha!

William Hamblen said at March 21, 2012 9:16 PM:

You may be able to get normal blood sugar levels with weight loss, diet and exercise. I've done it. No magic extracts were required. Glucose intolerance remains. Too much carbohydrate at once will shoot my blood sugar up to abnormal values. Many people will still require medication even with careful diet. Everybody's different. You need a doctor who has a lot of clinical experience with diabetes to help manage your condition.

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