Smokers and Heavy Drinkers Develop Alzheimer’s Earlier
People who are heavy drinkers and heavy
smokers are believed to develop Alzheimer's years earlier than
individuals who do not smoke or drink heavily, according to a new
research study. The author of this research is Ranjan Duara, MD,
of the Wien Center for Alzheimer's disease at Mount Sinai Medical
Center Miami, Florida, and a fellow of the American Academy of
Neurology. This study was also supported by the Florida
Department of Elder affairs.
Dr. Duara stated
that, "These results are significant because it's possible that if we
can reduce or eliminate heavy smoking and drinking, we could
substantially delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease for people, and
reduce the number of people who have Alzheimer's at any point in
time." She went on to say that," It has been projected that a delay in
the onset of the disease by five years would lead to a nearly 50%
reduction in the total number of Alzheimer's cases." Dr. Duara
concluded "In this study, we found that the combination of heavy
drinking and heavy smoking reduced the age of onset of Alzheimer's
disease by six to seven years, making these two factors among the most
important preventable risk factors for all Alzheimer's disease."
The study involved
938 people, 60 and older who were either diagnosed with possible or
probable Alzheimer's disease. The study involved the use of reports
from family members on drinking and smoking history and in order to
determine whether the participants had the APOE-4 gene variant of the
APOE gene, which is believed to increase the risk of an individual
getting Alzheimer's disease. Individuals with the APOE-4 gene variant
frequently develop Alzheimer's at an earlier age than those who do not
have this specific gene.
The study found
that seven percent of the participants had a history of heavy
drinking, which was defined as having more than two drinks a day.
Twenty percent had a history of heavy smoking, which was defined as
smoking one pack of cigarettes or more per day. Ironically, 27% had
the APOE-4 variant.
Heavy smokers and
drinkers were both found to have an earlier initial onset of
Alzheimer's disease. Heavy drinkers have been found to develop
Alzheimer’s 4.8 years earlier than those who are not heavy drinkers,
and heavy smokers were found to have an initial onset 2.3 years
earlier than people who are not heavy smokers. People with the APOE-4
variant of the gene developed the disease three years earlier than
those without the variant.
added all the risk factors together, they found that people who had
all three risk factors develop the disease 8.5 years earlier than
those with none of the risk factors. These individuals who meet the
criteria for all three risk factors develop Alzheimer's disease at an
average age of 68.5 years old. The 374 people who did not meet the
criteria for any of these risk factors developed the disease at an
average age of 77 years old.
This research was presented at the American
Academy in neurology 60th anniversary and you'll meeting in Chicago,
October 16, 2008
of Neurology (2008, April 16). Alzheimer's Starts Earlier For Heavy
Drinkers, Smokers. ScienceDaily.
Retrieved April 25, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com
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