"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Good news for dementia risk?

March 27, 204 – The size of the human brain has increased over time, a finding that might help explain a reported decline in dementia cases.

A trend evaluation using brain imaging data from a long-running heart study showed a rise in several brain measurements in people born within the Seventies in comparison with those born within the Thirties.

Researchers consider that the increased size of the brain will result in a “greater 'reserve' against the diseases of aging and therefore reduce the overall risk of dementia,” says Dr. Charles DeCarli, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Imaging of Dementia and Aging Laboratory on the University of California at Davis, said.

The study was published online Monday within the Journal JAMA Neurology.

Dementia protection?

A previous work from the identical study, referred to as Framingham Heart Study, Suspected cases of dementia are declining. The study is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and has been running since 1948. It is mostly used to check intergenerational patterns of cardiovascular and other diseases.

“The The difference occurred in people who had at least a college degree and was not influenced by differences in vascular risk. Our work was inspired by this finding and the possibility that differences in brain size may occur across the three generations of the Framingham Heart Study, which could explain increased resilience to dementia,” said DeCarli.

The findings are likely based in part on improved lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as emerging evidence that there are things a person can do to reduce the risk of dementia, the authors said.

However, there are limitations for the researcher, namely that the participants in the Framingham study are largely white, healthy and well-educated and are not representative of the U.S. border

Exciting work

“If “These results are confirmed by others and the observed differences per decade are as large as those reported. This has important implications for aging and dementia studies,” wrote Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD, of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, in an accompanying editorial.

Although this work is “exciting and will draw attention to secular trends in brain health, much work remains to be done to validate and reproduce these results and, more importantly, to understand the mechanistic basis of these trends,” said Vemuri.