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New study challenges accepted approaches to research in senile dementia (Alzheimer's disease)
Date:11/7/2011

senile dementia. The dominant hypothesis, although unproven, is that Ca2+ levels rise throughout the aging process, leading to cell death, and thus research has focused on calcium antagonists to lower those levels. This viewpoint has been promoted by policy makers, and the subject of a number of high profile clinical trials, but to date no positive results have emerged.

In contrast, the authors propose that declining functionality of Ca2+ signaling as a result of the aging process, among a myriad of other age-related changes, leads to cognitive decline. Therefore Interventions for senile dementia could activate Ca2+ function by promoting energy metabolism and also by Ca2+ agonists such as caffeine and nicotine. At the same time, risk factors play a key role. "Aging and Ca2+ deficits set the stage for senile dementia, but do not always lead to senile dementia in real life," explains Dr. Chen. "Lifestyles and other risk factors are the key. So we think that senile dementia may be explained by 'advanced aging plus risk factors.' This model points to a new direction for prevention. This means we must support the elderly in healthy lifestyles. And we should develop medications to extend the lifespan of old neurons, rather than looking for ways to inhibit far-fetched 'pathogenic' factors."

"The model implies that senile dementia is, by and large, a lifestyle disease," says Dr. Chen. "This view, in fact, has been shared by many in the medical and clinical community, but contrasts sharply with current dominant theories in the Alzheimer research field, which assume a linear and 'cause and effect' mechanism. Since they have not taken into account the fundamental roles of aging and risk factors, it is clear that these theories, though highly appealing to the public and researchers alike, are of little relevance to the scientific nature of senile dementia."

"The two overwhelming concepts, senile dementia as a distinct disease and the C
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Contact: Daphne Watrin
d.watrin@iospress.nl
31-206-883-355
IOS Press
Source:Eurekalert

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