Nav: Home

Physical frailty may be linked to Alzheimer's disease

August 11, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Physical frailty, which is common in older persons, may be related to Alzheimer's disease pathology, according to a study published in the August 12, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, researchers examined the brains of 165 people who had been participants in a larger community study of chronic diseases of aging. While participants were alive, physical frailty measurements were taken yearly including grip strength, time to walk eight feet, body composition and tiredness. After death, the brains of these participants were checked for the plaques and tangles that are signs of Alzheimer's disease pathology.

Of the participants in the study, 36 percent of the group had dementia, or showed signs of memory loss. "Interestingly, Alzheimer's disease pathology was associated with physical frailty in older persons both with and without dementia," said study author Aron S. Buchman, MD, with Rush University Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago and member of the American Academy of Neurology.

"The level of frailty was approximately two times higher in a person with a high level of AD pathology compared with a person with a low level of AD pathology," said Buchman. The results remained the same regardless of whether a person had a history of other diseases and regardless of their level of physical activity.

A previous study of the same group of participants while they were alive suggested that older people who are physically frail with no cognitive impairment appear to be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease as compared to those who were less frail. "Together both of these studies suggest that frailty can be an early indicator of Alzheimer's disease pathology and may appear before memory loss."

"These findings raise the possibility that Alzheimer's disease may contribute to frailty or that frailty and Alzheimer's disease share a common cause. We theorize that the accumulation of these plaques and tangles in the brain could affect the areas of the brain responsible for motor skills and simple movements years before the development of dementia," Buchman said.

Studies show that about seven percent of people over age 65 are considered frail; that number jumps to 45 percent after age 85.
-end-
The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Robert C. Borwell Endowment Fund.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as epilepsy, dystonia, migraine, Huntington's disease, and dementia. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.

American Academy of Neurology

Related Dementia Articles:

Flies the key to studying the causes of dementia
A research team from the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, Vari, Greece, have studied two structurally-similar proteins in the adult brain and have found that they play distinct roles in the development of dementia.
Stroke prevention may also reduce dementia
Ontario's stroke prevention strategy appears to have had an unexpected, beneficial side effect: a reduction also in the incidence of dementia among older seniors.
Dementia: The right to rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is important for people with dementia as it is for people with physical disabilities, according to a leading dementia expert.
One in 4 elderly Australian women have dementia
At least a quarter of Australian women over 70 will develop dementia according to University of Queensland researchers.
Rural dementia -- we need to talk
Research carried out by Plymouth University into the experience of dementia in farming and farming families, and its impact on their businesses and home lives, has identified four areas of concern which need to be addressed if dementia in the countryside is to be managed.
Women with dementia receive less medical attention
Women with dementia have fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than men with dementia, new UCL research reveals.
Dementia on the downslide, especially among people with more education
In a hopeful sign for the health of the nation's brains, the percentage of American seniors with dementia is dropping, a new study finds.
New study suggests rethink of dementia causes
University of Adelaide researchers have developed a new theory for the causes of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, involving an out-of-control immune system.
Bleeding stroke associated with onset of dementia
Bleeding within the brain, or intracerebral hemorrhage, was associated with a high risk of developing dementia post stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016.
Dementia: New insights into causes of loss of orientation
The University of Exeter Medical School led two studies, each of which moves us a step closer to understanding the onset of dementia, and potentially to paving the way for future therapies.

Related Dementia Reading:

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss
by Nancy L. Mace (Author), Peter V. Rabins (Author)

The 36-Hour Day, sixth edition: The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
by Nancy L. Mace (Author), Peter V. Rabins (Author)

Dementia: Dementia Types, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, Neurocognitive Disorders, Prognosis, Research, History, Myths, and More! Facts & Information
by Frederick Earlstein (Author)

Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief
by Pauline Boss (Author)

The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home
by Judy Cornish (Author)

Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia: "Experiencing Dementia--Honoring God"
by John, MD Dunlop (Author)

Alzheimer's and Dementia For Dummies
by Consumer Dummies (Author)

Thoughtful Dementia Care: Understanding the Dementia Experience
by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller (Author)

When Reasoning No Longer Works: A Practical Guide for Caregivers Dealing with Dementia & Alzheimer's Care
by Angel Smits (Author)

Memory Loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and Dementia: A Practical Guide for Clinicians
by Andrew E. Budson MD (Author), Paul R. Solomon PhD (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Right To Speak
Should all speech, even the most offensive, be allowed on college campuses? And is hearing from those we deeply disagree with ... worth it? This hour, TED speakers explore the debate over free speech. Guests include recent college graduate Zachary Wood, political scientist Jeffrey Howard, novelist Elif Shafak, and journalist and author James Kirchick.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#486 Volcanoes
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...