The thesis is based on the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, which was started at the end of the 1960s when almost 1,500 women between the ages of 38 and 60 were examined, asked questions about their health and had blood samples taken. Nearly all of the samples have now been analysed and compared with information on who went on to suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia much later.
"Alzheimer's disease was more than twice as common among the women with the highest levels of homocysteine than among those with the lowest, and the risk for any kind of dementia was 70 per cent higher," says doctor Dimitri Zylberstein, author of the thesis.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that is important for the body's metabolism. It is known that high levels of homocysteine can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of blood clots. Previous longitudinal studies linking homocysteine and dementia had 8 years of follow-up at most. The present study is by far the longest one with follow-up time of 35 years. The study is also the first to show association between homocysteine levels in middle aged women and dementia development several decades later. The researchers do not yet know whether it is the homocysteine itself that damages the brain, or whether there is some other underlying factor that both increases levels of the homocysteine and causes dementia.
Historically elevated homocysteine levels were related to certain vitamin defficiencies (B12 anf folate). Today we know that high homocysteine levels might be present even with perfectly normal vitamin status. "These days we in our clinical practice use homocysteine analyses mainly for assessment of vitamin status. However, our results mean that we could use the very same analysis för assessment of individual's risk profile for dementia development. This opens the possibility for future preventive treatment at a very early stage", says Zylberstein.
The thesis also looks at a gene which, in some variants, appears to offer protection against dementia. This gene variant reduces the risk of dementia by no less than 65 percent when present doubled (homozygous) which occures in just one in ten Swedes and by 40 percent when present in mixed form (heterozygous) i additional four of ten Swedes.
"We have only been able to carry out a genetic analysis on just over 550 of the blood samples from the Prospective Population Study of Women, and want to undertake bigger studies before we can say for sure that the gene really does protect against dementia," says professor Lauren Lissner who supervised the thesis. "We hope to be able to perform the same analysis on more samples from the study."
The work was carried out in conjunction with the Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Research Unit as part of EpiLife, the Sahlgrenska Academy's major research project.DEMENTIA
Title of thesis: Homocysteine and vascular morbidity and dementia in women. A prospective population study.
The thesis was successfully defended.BY: Elin Lindström Claessen
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy