Frailty may predict link between disease and dementia symptoms
17 January 2019
Lancet Neurol: Investigation of frailty as a moderator of the relationship between neuropathology and dementia in Alzheimer’s disease: a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project
Researchers in the US have found that those who are frailer in later life are more likely to have the diseases underlying dementia and the condition itself. The results are published today (Thursday 17 January) in the medical journal, Lancet Neurology.
Dr Carol Routledge, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said:
“Our brains can be very resilient so although someone may have brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, they may not always show symptoms of dementia. This study suggests that those who are more frail may also be more susceptible to the impact of the disease, but it’s hard to separate cause and effect without further research that tracks health over time.
“Interesting research like this can help to identify factors that affect the brain’s ability to cope with damage from diseases like Alzheimer’s. Finding ways to boost our resilience to such damage could delay the start of symptoms to a point where dementia is never able to take hold of a person’s life in the way it does today. While there is no simple way to tackle frailty, it is important to remember that our brains do not work in isolation to the rest of our body and there are things we can all do to maximise our brain health as we age.
“Eating a healthy diet, not smoking, staying physically and mentally active, only drinking within recommended guidelines, and keeping weight, blood pressure and cholesterol in check have all been linked to a lower risk of dementia and can help support a healthy brain in later life.”