New Findings on Risk Factors for Multi-Infarct Dementia
Multi-infarct dementia, also known as vascular dementia, occurs after a series of mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks, or TIA's) interrupt blood flow to the brain enough to impair cognitive abilities.
Researchers studied 129 elderly people with vascular dementia and 535 matched controls. Compared with the controls, people with vascular dementia were:
* 3.10 times more likely to have used aspirin regularly.
* 2.60 times more likely to have had occupational exposure to pesticides and fertilizers.
* 2.59 times more likely to have had occupational exposure to liquid plastics or rubbers.
* 2.45 times more likely to have a history of alcohol abuse.
* 2.08 times more likely to have a history of high blood pressure (hypertension).
* And 1.71 times more likely to have a history of heart disease.
Other studies have linked risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias to poor education, hypertension, and heart disease.
The aspirin finding is odd. Previous studies have shown that regular aspirin use helps prevent TIA's and stroke, which should help prevent vascular dementia. It's possible that TIA's impaired the study participants' cognitive abilities before they began taking aspirin regularly.
Dementia is associated with exposure to pesticides, fertilizers, alcohol abuse, and liquid plastics and rubbers presumably because they contain neurotic chemicals.
Source: Stroke, March 1998
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