Nav: Home

Vitamin D levels predict risk of brain decline in Chinese elderly

July 27, 2016

SINGAPORE, 27 July 2016 - Research conducted by Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) and Duke University has associated low vitamin D levels with increased subsequent risk of cognitive decline and impairment in the Chinese elderly.

Produced primarily in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D is necessary for maintaining healthy bones and muscles. It is now believed to also play a significant role in maintaining healthy brain function. An increased risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases has been observed in those with low vitamin D levels, and studies from Europe and North America have linked low vitamin D levels with future cognitive decline.

This study asks similar questions of vitamin D levels and cognition in the Chinese elderly. It is the first large-scale prospective study in Asia to study the association between vitamin D status and risk of cognitive decline and impairment in the Chinese elderly. 1,202 study subjects greater than or equal to 60 years of age from the Chinese Longitudinal Health Longevity Survey took part in this study. Their baseline vitamin D levels were measured at the start of the study, and their cognitive abilities were assessed over 2 years.

Regardless of gender and extent of advanced age, individuals with lower vitamin D levels at the start of the study were approximately twice as likely to exhibit significant cognitive decline over time. In addition, low vitamin D levels at baseline also increased the risk of future cognitive impairment by 2-3 times.

"Although this study was conducted on subjects from China, the results are applicable to regions in Asia where a large proportion of the elderly are ethnically Chinese, like Singapore," said Professor David Matchar, first author of the study and Director of the Health Services and Systems Research Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School.

These findings reinforce the notion that vitamin D protects against neuron damage and loss, and call for more intensive investigations into the effects of vitamin D supplements on cognitive decline. Better understanding of the mechanism by which vitamin D protects neurons may help identify effective interventions to stem the rapidly increasing prevalence of cognitive decline observed in ageing populations.
-end-


Duke-NUS Medical School

Related Cognitive Decline Articles:

More amyloid in the brain, more cognitive decline
A new study from the Center for Vital Longevity at The University of Texas at Dallas has found that the amount of amyloid plaques in a person's brain predicts the rate at which his or her cognition will decline in the next four years.
Elevated brain amyloid level associated with increased likelihood of cognitive decline
Among a group of cognitively normal individuals, those who had elevated levels in the brain of the protein amyloid were more likely to experience cognitive decline in the following years, according to a study published by JAMA.
Cognitive decline after surgery tied to brain's own immune cells
After undergoing surgery, elderly patients often experience cloudy thinking that can last for weeks or even months.
Insulin resistance may lead to faster cognitive decline
A new Tel Aviv University study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease finds that insulin resistance, caused in part by obesity and physical inactivity, is also linked to a more rapid decline in cognitive performance.
Insulin resistance may lead to faster cognitive decline
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that insulin resistance, caused in part by obesity and physical inactivity, is also linked to a more rapid decline in cognitive performance.
PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab not associated with decline in memory or cognitive function
New research led by the TIMI Study Group at Brigham and Women's Hospital in collaboration with Brown University and the University of Geneva reassuringly finds no association between the use of the PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab and a decline in memory or cognitive function.
Predicting long-term cognitive decline following delirium
Evidence suggests that experiencing delirium after surgery can lead to long-term cognitive decline in older adults.
Women's cognitive decline begins earlier than previously believed
Mental sharpness in women begins to decline as early as their 50s.
Imaging links structural brain changes and cognitive decline in Parkinson's
People with Parkinson's disease and cognitive impairment have disruptions in their brain networks that can be seen on a type of MRI, according to a new study.
Being part of a community group could protect you from cognitive decline
Social engagement through civic group activities, such as being a member of a political party, an environmental group, neighborhood watch, a voluntary service group or other community based groups, is associated with better cognitive function at age 50, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Psychology which included 9,119 men and women from England, Scotland and Wales.

Related Cognitive Decline Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...