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Alzheimer’s Patients Have Greater Risk for Seizures, Anemia

November 4, 2010
Psychiatry, Alzheimer's Disease, Alzheimers, Cognitive Impairment, Dementia

The findings of two separate studies suggest that an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is associated with health conditions such as seizures and anemia.

H. Michael Arrighi, PhD, at Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy Research & Development, and Nicole Baker, MPH, at Pfizer, and colleagues, used medical records from ~400 primary practices in England to estimate the incidence rate of seizures in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The Alzheimer’s disease population in this analysis numbered 14,838 people ≥50 years of age. The Alzheimer’s disease cohort was compared to a randomly selected age- and sex-matched non-Alzheimer’s disease cohort.

Over an average period of 2.3 years for Alzheimer’s disease patients and 3.4 years for non-Alzheimer’s disease comparisons, the rate of seizures per 1,000 people numbered 9.1 and 1.4, respectively, an incidence rate 6.4 times higher for the Alzheimer’s disease group.

In a second study, Noel Faux, PhD, at the Mental Health Research Institute in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues, took a closer look at the hypothesis stating that iron accumulates in the tau tangles in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients. They explored whether elevated iron levels in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients could appear in plasma iron level analyses. The researchers took hemoglobin and iron measurements, among other blood-based assessments, in 1,112 subjects made up of 211 Alzheimer’s disease patients, 133 MCI patients, and 768 healthy controls. Diet, medications, short- and long-term memory status, and global cognition were also assessed.

Compared to age- and sex-matched controls, Alzheimer’s disease patients had significantly lower levels of hemoglobin, mean cell hemoglobin concentration, and packed cell volume. These data concurred with a significantly higher erythrocyte sedimentation rate in the Alzheimer’s disease group. Anemic patients also stood a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease (OR 2.56), and Alzheimer’s disease patients had an increased risk of anemia (OR 2.61), although iron intake did not vary between these two groups. (AAICAD 2010. Arrighi Presentation #O2-06-04; Faux Poster #P3-261). –Lonnie Stoltzfoos

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From → Geriatrics

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