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:

Research shows that early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline
Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline among the elderly, according to research conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Looking at the way we walk can help predict cognitive decline
The way people walk is an indicator of how much their brains, as well as their bodies, are aging.
High blood pressure treatment may slow cognitive decline
Among middle-aged and older adults, high blood pressure accelerated cognitive decline and treatment slowed the regression.
Depression symptoms in Alzheimer's could be signs for cognitive decline
Depression symptoms in cognitively healthy older individuals together with brain amyloid, a biological marker of Alzheimer's could trigger changes in memory and thinking over time.
Model predicts cognitive decline due to Alzheimer's, up to two years out
An artificial intelligence model developed at MIT predicts cognitive decline of patients at risk for Alzheimer's disease by predicting their cognition test scores up to 2 years in the future.
Cognitive decline may accelerate after heart attack, angina
Adults with incident coronary heart disease (CHD) are at higher risk for faster cognitive decline in the long-term, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Healthy blood vessels may delay cognitive decline
High blood pressure may affect conditions such as Alzheimer's disease by interfering with the brain's waste management system, according to new research in rats published in JNeurosci.
With age comes hearing loss and a greater risk of cognitive decline
In a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that hearing impairment is associated with accelerated cognitive decline with age, though the impact of mild hearing loss may be lessened by higher education.
A new culprit of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes, led by Senior Investigator Katerina Akassoglou, Ph.D., showed for the first time that a blood-clotting protein called fibrinogen is responsible for a series of molecular and cellular events that can destroy connections between neurons in the brain and result in cognitive decline.
Exploring the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline
A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital adds to a growing body of evidence that hearing loss is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline.
More Cognitive Decline News and Cognitive Decline Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab