A genetic predisposition to certain types of high blood pressure and cholesterol increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease; A new study He gets it.

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is not clear, and although there are drugs that slow the progression of the disease, there is still no cure.

Scientists have been scrambling to better understand Alzheimer’s disease so they can find ways to prevent or treat it.

The realization cannot come soon enough. More than 6 million Americans now have the disease, however Alzheimer’s Association The number is predicted to more than double by 2050, costing the country $1 trillion.. Women and people who are black or Hispanic are disproportionately affected.

In this study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers were trying to understand the modifiable risk factors that prevent a person from developing Alzheimer’s disease. They also hope to help guide drug development.

They analyzed data from the European Alzheimer’s and Dementia Biobank, a DNA dataset from people with and without Alzheimer’s disease in 11 countries in Europe. Genetic factors account for up to 70% of common forms of Alzheimer’s. says Biobank.

The new study included 39,106 people with clinical Alzheimer’s disease and 401,577 controls who did not have the disease.

When the researchers compared each individual’s genetic makeup, they found that people with certain genes were slightly more likely to develop high levels of a type of cholesterol, HDL, or “good” cholesterol. Alzheimer’s. They found a similar risk in people with genes responsible for high systolic blood pressure.

The increase in Alzheimer’s risk was about 10% for every standard deviation in HDL cholesterol. And for every 10 mm of mercury (mm Hg) increase in systolic blood pressure, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases 1.22 times.

The study found no consistent data for genetic associations with other lipid characteristics, nor did it find evidence that BMI, alcohol consumption, smoking, or diabetes increased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Other studies Looking only at lifestyle factors that include obesity, alcohol, smoking, and diabetes — not genetic risk factors for these factors — showed a link between them and a higher risk of Alzheimer’s.

Although this is a large study, the researchers said, it should be noted that the majority of participants are of European descent and others may have different genetic causes of Alzheimer’s, so it may not be generalizable to the rest of the world. The study also did not show that genes predispose people to Alzheimer’s. According to scientists, more research should be done.

Although the researchers do not know why this association may be dangerous, they have a few ideas.

For people with a genetic predisposition to high HDL, it can be about balance. HDL is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because the body’s “bad” cholesterol, LDL, clogs arteries and prevents blood and oxygen from getting to the heart.

In heart health, high HDL can help prevent stroke or heart attack. But in brain health, high HDL can disrupt the balance of a specific protein that scientists suspect plays a role in the development of dementia.

Other studies have shown that high blood pressure in midlife can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, although research on its effects in later life is very limited.

Dr. Suddha Seshadri, director of UT Health San Antonio’s Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, said people should remember that this is just one study.

“Overall, I’d say it provides some support for the fact that low blood pressure can be good. And having high HDL is driving dementia, but there are many explanations for that,” said Seshadri, who was not involved in the study.

She says something as simple as high HDL can protect people from heart disease or stroke, help them live longer, and age is a factor in dementia.

“It’s a study that needs to be replicated and better understood. It’s really interesting. But it’s just one piece of information,” Seshadri said.

Dr. Rebecca M. Edelmayer, senior director of science engagement at the Alzheimer’s Association, said studies like this are good building blocks for understanding how the disease works.

Cognitive decline or dementia may be due to family history and genetics, but it’s an exciting time in the field as researchers are realizing that there are modifiable risk factors such as diet, heart health and exercise, she said.

“As stated in the paper, we believe that by targeting modifiable risk factors and by understanding what genetics may be and what may be associated with altered risk, we believe that a large number of dementia cases worldwide can be prevented or delayed,” said Edelmayer, who was not involved in the new study.

It helps if there are more people Registered for clinical trials So scientists can better understand the causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Edelmayer believes that in the future, the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will require an integrated approach that includes modifiable risk factors as well as powerful therapies.

One powerful area to target is heart health.

“I would say now that population-level data can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and possibly dementia, especially by focusing on cardiovascular risk factors,” Edelmayer said.

Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and managing heart health and diabetes should all help.

“Of course what’s good for your heart is good for your mind,” she said.

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