Anemia linked to increased risk of dementia

July 31, 2013

Anemia, or low levels of red blood cells, may increase the risk of dementia, according to a study published in the July 31, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Anemia is common in the elderly and occurs in up to 23 percent of adults ages 65 and older," said study author Kristine Yaffe, MD, with the University of California – San Francisco and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "The condition has also been linked in studies to an increased risk of early death."

For the study, 2,552 between the ages of 70-79 were tested for and also underwent memory and thinking tests over 11 years. Of those, 393 had anemia at the start of the study. At the end of the study, 445, or about 18 percent of participants, developed dementia.

The research found that people who had anemia at the start of the study had a nearly 41 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those who were not anemic. The link remained after considering other factors, such as age, race, sex and education. Of the 393 people with anemia, 89 people, or 23 percent, developed dementia, compared to 366 of the 2,159 people who did not have anemia, or 17 percent.

"There are several explanations for why anemia may be linked to dementia. For example, anemia may be a marker for in general, or low resulting from anemia may play a role in the connection. Reductions in oxygen to the brain have been shown to reduce memory and thinking abilities and may contribute to damage to neurons," said Yaffe.

Explore further: Low vitamin D in kids may play a role in anemia

Related Stories

Low vitamin D in kids may play a role in anemia

May 2, 2011
Pediatricians from Johns Hopkins Children's Center and elsewhere have discovered a link between low levels of vitamin D and anemia in children.

Anemia may more than triple your risk of dying after a stroke

February 2, 2012
Being anemic could more than triple your risk of dying within a year after having a stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2012.

Alzheimer's and low blood sugar in diabetes may trigger a vicious cycle

June 10, 2013
Diabetes-associated episodes of low blood sugar may increase the risk of developing dementia, while having dementia or even milder forms of cognitive impairment may increase the risk of experiencing low blood sugar, according ...

Stroke symptoms associated with developing memory and thinking problems

June 19, 2013
People who experience any stroke symptoms—but do not have a stroke—may also be more likely to develop problems with memory and thinking, according to new research published in the June 19, 2013, online issue of Neurology, ...

Rapid, irregular heartbeat may be linked to problems with memory and thinking

June 5, 2013
People who develop a type of irregular heartbeat common in old age called atrial fibrillation may also be more likely to develop problems with memory and thinking, according to new research published in the June 5, 2013, ...

Severe anemia linked to poorer heart surgery outcomes

October 3, 2012
(HealthDay)—Adults undergoing cardiac surgery who have moderate-to-severe preoperative anemia have significantly increased morbidity and mortality compared with non-severely anemic patients, according to research published ...

Recommended for you

The neural codes for body movements

July 21, 2017
A small patch of neurons in the brain can encode the movements of many body parts, according to researchers in the laboratory of Caltech's Richard Andersen, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, Tianqiao and Chrissy ...

Faulty support cells disrupt communication in brains of people with schizophrenia

July 20, 2017
New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia. When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia ...

Scientists reveal how patterns of brain activity direct specific body movements

July 20, 2017
New research by Columbia scientists offers fresh insight into how the brain tells the body to move, from simple behaviors like walking, to trained movements that may take years to master. The discovery in mice advances knowledge ...

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain

July 20, 2017
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a "sensory map" within their brains, according to new research.

Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons

July 20, 2017
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have opened a black box in the brain whose contents explain one of the remarkable yet mysterious facts of life.

Speech language therapy delivered through the Internet leads to similar improvements as in-person treatment

July 20, 2017
Telerehabilitation helps healthcare professionals reach more patients in need, but some worry it doesn't offer the same quality of care as in-person treatment. This isn't the case, according to recent research by Baycrest.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.