People who make it to 90 with all their facilities could be resilient to some dementias, a new study claimed.
Small signs of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia – which is similar to the former but primarily affects thinking speed rather than memory – are both common in nonagenarians who maintain superior cognitive skills.
However, University of California, Irvine, (UCI) found compos mentis 90-year-olds prove resilient to Lewy body disease, a dementia that can cause hallucinations and damage judgment, planning and vision.
Age is the primary risk factor for cognitive issues, and according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of people aged over 90 has multiplied by over two and a half in 30 years.
Memory and brain function problems are consequently on the rise.
Dr. Roshni Biswas, of UCI, said: “People who are 90-plus and still have good memory and thinking abilities tend to have similar levels of Alzheimer’s pathology in their brains.
“Our findings indicate that while Alzheimer’s Disease neuropathological changes and vascular changes are common in their brains, these individuals are less susceptible to other types of neurodegenerative changes such as Lewy body disease.
“In our future research, we will examine how lifestyle habits and health conditions are associated with superior cognition in individuals who are 90+ and the factors that contribute to maintaining stable cognitive function over time.”
“The 90+ Study” set up in 2003 aimed to examine the brain functioning of those who maintained a strong mind in later age by analyzing autopsy data from 102 cognitively normal people who died at a mean age of 97.6 years.
Cognitive test scores were also used, taken between two and 12 months before the individual died.
Overall, participants’ mean age was 97.1 and over 2,000 enrolled, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Dr. María Corrada, Department of Neurology at UCI and co-principal investigator, said: “There are some individuals who can maintain high levels of cognitive function well into advanced ages.
“Further research into the factors that enable these individuals to maintain their cognitive function could provide insights into how to preserve cognitive health despite advanced age.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Newsdesk Manager