About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Education Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s - Research Found

by Chrisy Ngilneii on December 9, 2017 at 12:05 PM
Font : A-A+

Education Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s - Research Found

Education is associated with reduced-risk of Alzheimer's disease, recent research at the University of Cambridge found evidence.

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia. Its chief hallmark is the build of 'plaques' and 'tangles' of misshapen proteins, which lead to the gradual death of brain cells. People affected by Alzheimer's experience memory and communication problems, disorientation, changes in behavior and progressive loss of independence.

Advertisement


The causes of Alzheimer's are largely unknown, and attempts to develop drug treatments to halt or reverse its effects have been disappointing. This has led to increasing interest in whether it is possible to reduce the number of cases of Alzheimer's disease by tackling common risk factors that can be modified. In fact, research from the Cambridge Institute of Public Health has shown that the incidence of Alzheimer's is falling in the UK, probably due to improvements in education, and smoking reduction and better diet and exercise.

"Many studies have shown that certain risk factors are more common in people with Alzheimer's disease, but determining whether these factors actually cause Alzheimer's is more difficult," says Professor Hugh Markus from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge.
Advertisement

"For example, many studies have shown that the more years spent in full time education, the lower the risk of Alzheimer's. But it is difficult to unravel whether this is an effect of education improving brain function, or whether it's the case that people who are more educated tend to come from more wealthy backgrounds and therefore have a reduction in other risk factors that cause Alzheimer's disease."

Professor Markus led a study to unpick these factors using a technique known as 'Mendelian randomisation'. This involves looking at an individual's DNA and comparing genes associated with environmental risk factors - for example, genes linked to educational attainment or to smoking - and seeing which of these genes are also associated with Alzheimer's disease. If a gene is associated with both, then it provides strong evidence that this risk factor really does cause the disease.

As part of a project known as CoSTREAM, researchers studied genetic variants that increase the risk of a variety of different environmental risk factors to see if these were more common in 17,000 patients with Alzheimer's disease. They found the strongest association with genetic variants that predict higher educational attainment.

"This provides further strong evidence that education is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease," says first author Dr Susanna Larsson, now based at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden. "It suggests that improving education could have a significant effect on reducing the number of people who suffer from this devastating disease."

Exactly how education might reduce the risk of Alzheimer's is uncertain. Previous studies have shown that the same amount of damage in the brain is associated with less severe and less frequent Alzheimer's in people who have received more education. One possible explanation is the idea of 'cognitive reserve' - the ability to recruit alternative brain networks or to use brain structures or networks not normally used to compensate for brain aging. Evidence suggests that education helps improve brain wiring and networks and hence could increase this reserve.

The researchers also looked at other environmental risk factors, including smoking, vitamin D, and alcohol and coffee consumption. However, their results proved inconclusive. This may be because genes that predispose to smoking, for example, have only a very small effect on behavior, they say.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Menstrual Disorders
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and ......
Dementia
Dementia has become a very big concern as we have an aging population across the world. Dementia is ...
Diseases Related to Old Age
Ageing is referred to the accumulation of changes that brings a person closer to death....
Delusions
Delusions are firm beliefs by the person of something that is not logically or practically ......

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
CONSULT A DOCTOR
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)