So please be sure to keep gulping down all those pharmaceuticals...
When your cognitive function worsens the drug companies can keep making money, treating the symptoms their meds delivered to you! Win/Win for them. (You all know I'm being facetious, right?)
And for what it's worth- I practice that which is preached here- Or I wouldn't be preaching it!
Can't even tell you all when it was I last took an aspirin!
Commonly used drugs for problems like colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure and heart disease have long been linked to cognitive impairment and dementia. Now researchers have some fresh evidence that may help explain the connection.
The drugs, known as anticholinergics, stop a chemical called acetylcholine from working properly in the nervous system.
In the new analysis, researchers looked at brain scans and cognitive test results from 451 older adults – including 60 who had been taking anticholinergic drugs for at least a month. The study participants were about 73 years old on average.
Brain scans of people who used anticholinergic drugs showed lower levels of glucose processing in the brain – an indicator of brain activity – in a region of the brain associated with memory that’s also affected early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, patients who used these medications had reduced brain volume and thickness in some regions linked to cognitive function, the researchers report in JAMA Neurology.
People who used these drugs also scored lower on tests of immediate memory recall and executive function compared to people who weren’t using these drugs, researchers found.
There are definitely medical benefits to all of the anticholinergic medications we looked at, which could outweigh the cognitive risks,” said lead study author Shannon Risacher of the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
“But if alternative therapies are available that provide effective treatment of these conditions, patients and doctors might want to consider avoiding anticholinergic medications,” Risacher added by email.
Still, the study adds to a growing body of evidence connecting anticholinergic medicines to cognitive problems later in life and offers new evidence to explain why this link exists, Koyama added.
The findings should encourage doctors and patients to discuss the drugs, and to consider whether the potential risk of cognitive decline merits avoiding or limiting use of these medicines.
Not every patient will arrive at the same answer, however.
“Since the pathology underlying any effect of anticholinergic drugs on cognitive function likely takes years to manifest, if a patient is clearly benefiting from a drug in the short-term, but may not survive in the long term, any cognitive harm from the drug may be inconsequential,” Koyama said.
“On the other hand, a healthier patient particularly concerned about future dementia risk, whether because of family history or other reason, may consider alternative treatments,” Koyama added.
Conclusions and Relevance Higher cumulative anticholinergic use is associated with an increased risk for dementia. Efforts to increase awareness among health care professionals and older adults about this potential medication-related risk are important to minimize anticholinergic use over time.